Overcoming Reluctance

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I am so thankful now after nearly 50 years that some friends long ago thought enough of me to share the good news of salvation provided by Jesus Christ.  They explained what Jesus did.  They told me how their lives were impacted and shaped by God.  They helped me see that some of my choices were not getting me where I wanted and needed to go.  They lovingly shared not only information, but themselves.  I can never thank them enough for living and telling the good news.  In fact, that is the title of a FreeMo book I wrote:  “Living and Telling the Good News”.

Since that time, I have tried to do what Jesus called us all to do- to love God, love people and make disciples.  One way of expressing all three is to tell and show people the good news.  When done well, it comes from a heart of love for God.  It is expressed because we love people enough to share what is of utmost importance for eternity.  And, we do it because the only way to make a disciple is to help them start on that journey.  I love sharing the good news.  I think most people do.  But, it is becoming less and less of a practice for many.  Many are reluctant to share.  Hence many churches survive year after year without experiencing the lost being found.

There are reasons for such reluctance.  I list them in order of the frequency I hear or see them.  First, many are afraid of getting the information wrong.  “I don’t know what to say” is a common response when I ask if someone is sharing their faith with others.  Certainly, we don’t want to doll out bad information or incorrect theology.  Second, people are afraid of rejection.  I hear often, “I don’t believe they would receive it well.”  Or, “That is not part of my relationship with them.”  Third, many people feel like faith is very personal, comparable to talking about sex, money or politics- we just shouldn’t “go there”.  It is an imposition in a person’s personal life is the argument.  Fourth, some people believe that it just doesn’t make a difference.  The good news is good, but not great.  In other words, some mistakenly believe that everyone goes to heaven anyway (which is not in accord with Scripture), or, they don’t really believe that salvation is relevant to day to day living.  Perhaps you relate to one of these.

Reluctance in sharing faith is generally centered on one or more of those reasons.  But, every person I have ever seen come to faith always applaud people who were bold enough, cared enough and loved enough to help point them in the right direction.  I often ask Christians (many are reading this blog now), “who has had the biggest impact in your life?” and “What did they do that was so impactful?”  It is often a family member.  Sometimes it is a teacher or coworker.  But generally, it is someone who cared deeply about them and spoke truth to them when it was uncomfortable for all concerned.  They lived sacrificially.  They backed up their loving life with loving words.  Very few say, “the most influential person never ruffled my feathers or spoke to me an uncomfortable truth.”  Many say, “they told me what I needed to hear but did not want to at the time.”

I invite you to overcome reluctance by diving in and expressing your love for God by loving someone who needs him and telling them about it.  I invite you to pray that God will help you make disciples of people who are not even sure what that means.  I invite you to love in ways that might be a tad frightening but bear fruit for God.  Pray that God helps you overcome your reluctance about speaking his name to those who need to hear it.  I have found that overcoming reluctance in that area leads to overcoming many things in life.  Start living and telling the good news.  Or, if you already are, invite others to join you.

 

Matthew Thomas
By Matthew Thomas

In my sixth decade of seeing God work simply increases my faith. Born in California, raised in Washington, ministered in Washington, Oregon, Canada, Philippines, Idaho and now all over the world has given me reason to believe and praise. My wife, Marlene and four children (Luke, Mitch, Samuel and Charese) give me reason to give deep thanks. My eight beautiful grandchildren (Jalen, Jordan, Katelin, Andrew, Eli, Callia, Asher and Mikaela) give me reason to see that grace reaches beyond our immediate present into our un-conceived future. Serving with a great team in the Free Methodist Church makes me a blessed person in a blessed place, serving with blessed people.

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