As Christians, we have to come back to this idea about our cultural inability seemingly have a conversation without talking past each other. After all, if, as we believe, the Gospel is just about the most important thing we can share with anyone else, we want to make sure that we get the message. We want to make sure that we don’t get turned off to the side, and we want to make sure we are clear and articulate in a culture that seems to want to deviate at every opportunity.
I have a few practical ideas that may be able to help us out.
First, I think we need to be persistent. I’m not always very good at this one, but if we want other people to try to address the question, then we have to be disciplined as well. We have to keep our question consistent. If for example we want to ask people if their worldview provides an answer for the origin of the universe, if we want other people to answer that question, we can’t throw in five different questions about other topics. We have to be tenacious and persistent in regards to our own discipline. Obviously, if you ask someone five different questions, don’t be surprised if you get five different answers.
Second, I think that we need to communicate good intentions. While of course we are free to say whatever we want, nobody wants to have a discussion with someone who communicates with ill intent. I am not talking about backing down from truth, and I am not saying that we should only say that which makes other people happy or reaffirms their worldview. If they have a bad worldview, I think we do have to challenge it. That being said though, it is vitally important for us to try to communicate as best we can that we are actually trying to share with them something kind. We communicate truth unreservedly, but we also try to demonstrate as best we can that truth is appealing. People might not believe it, but at least they will know without a doubt that we are genuinely trying to share something that we believe is for their own good. That matter of intention is vital.
Finally, I think that we have to be willing to come back later. We have all been in those conversations were you just hit an impasse for whatever reason. Rather than potentially destroying a relationship by continuing to hammer, maybe tomorrow will be a better day. I am not talking about an unnecessary delay, but if we present the gospel one day and it is rejected, it will probably not be overly beneficial to come back five minutes later and try again. That doesn’t mean we give up on the person, but we look for another opportunity. God will give those opportunities without a doubt, so we just need to be aware of when they arise again.
These are three thoughts I have about sharing the Gospel and how we can do that. Obviously, like I wrote about recently, we have freedom of speech, and we can choose to communicate in the way that we see fit. However, I do think that these are some best practices. We do need to be persistent and tenacious. We need to stick to the question at hand. We have to make sure that our intentions are good and the other person recognizes that we are trying to tell them things that we believe are for their own good. Finally, we need to always be willing to look for another opportunity if we are met with rejection first time.