In last week’s blog post, I told a story that clarified the gospel. Now whenever I use the term gospel, you know what I mean. The gospel is not doing good deeds (although these are nice…), but rather the age-old message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today I want to discuss: Why is it so hard to share this gospel?
When I lived in Iceland, I got to observe dying Christianity at its finest. When discussing this phenomenon with an Icelandic Christian, she summed it up well while sipping on her HERBALIFE protein shake. “Herbalife has done amazing in Iceland because people aren’t afraid to talk about it. If only Jesus was as easy to share as Herbalife.”
Why, Oh WHY, is it so hard for us to share Christ? Well, I’m not sure about the rest of you, but here are some walls…some barriers and hindrances that I’ve faced as I’ve tried to reach out and share the gospel.
- Not having many relationships with non-believers. There was a time in my life where I felt deeply entrenched in my Christian circle. I was always rushing around from church event to church event and didn’t really know my neighbors very well. Relationships take a long time to form and I simply wasn’t making the time to develop friendships with those outside the church.
- Feeling disingenuous when I tried to form relationships with non-believers. I really struggled with this for a while. Do I have an ulterior motive in getting to know this person? Am I just getting to know this person so I can share Christ with them? Is that wrong? Isn’t that like a bait and switch? Recently I read the book “The Art of Neighboring,” which has an amazing chapter on motives. We shouldn’t have an ulterior motive, we should have an ultimate motive. We don’t befriend people to convert them. We befriend them because we have been converted. We should befriend people because they are created by God and are of infinite value. Because we know what it’s like to be starving and we have found the Bread of Life.
- Once a relationship was formed, I feared I would hurt the relationship. Okay, so I have a non-believer in my life. We are friends now. Won’t bringing up a controversial topic such as…oh, I don’t know…say, JESUS, make things a little awkward? Maybe the friendship will suffer and the relationship will end. I think this is a common fear at the root of why we don’t bring up spiritual topics. We’re afraid of offending someone we care about. I know this has been the case with me.
- Not being sure how to do it. How do you bring up spiritual things? It’s easy to talk about the weather or your friend’s beautiful necklace or the kids. But, how do you cross the bridge to talking about something so personal and private? It’s definitely harder to talk about the gospel than a protein shake. One is trivial, and one is anything but trivial. I’ve seen evangelism done in harsh ways. I’ve seen it done in very sterile ways. But, what’s the alternative? How can we share Christ in a loving, genuine way? Most of us aren’t really sure…therefore we do nothing. Myself included.
What else? What are some barriers that you’ve faced to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ?