the weblog of Alan Knox

People are vulnerable to love

Posted by on Oct 31, 2009 in blog links, love, service | 3 comments

The following excellent post comes from Dave Black’s blog (Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm):

People are vulnerable to love. That’s one of the points Becky emphasized with the middle schoolers today. She told the story of a Muslim man in a small village in southern Ethiopia whom she had outfitted with a pair of non-prescription reading glasses. When he left the church compound he told the leaders, “Never have I seen such love as in this place.”

As I’ve reflected over that experience, I’ve become more convinced than ever that the confrontational approach to evangelism is lacking. No, I’m not against passing out a Gospel tract or placing bumper stickers on your car. I’m not against going door to door. In confrontational evangelism, the encounter is unique. It’s usually brief, often intense, and frequently scary. Then it’s over. Many have used that approach successfully. Thank God for them! But nothing is more powerful, in my opinion, than a Spirit-filled individual targeting his or her gifts to meet the needs of others. In southern Ethiopia you couldn’t buy a pair of reading glasses if you had a million dollars. They are not to be had. But when Becky gave that man a free pair of glasses, and when she told them where they had come from — not from the U.S. government, not from the Ethiopian government, but from people in America who love Jesus — and when she told him, “Every time you wear these glasses you will be reminded that Jesus knows you and loves you,” she threw a redemptive switch in that man’s mind.

I can’t overemphasize this point. Evangelism is essentially a lifestyle — a lifestyle of sharing what we have with others with a view to them realizing that there is a Savior, a Lord, a Redeemer named Jesus who loves them. I encourage all of us to develop this capacity to draw others to Christ. Do it however the Spirit leads you. But do it with a gentle, loving spirit. After all, as Becky emphasized in her talk, people of all stripes need to see and feel love. If we don’t have a genuine love for other people, we have probably forfeited our right to evangelize them!

Meditate on that last line for a few minutes: “If we don’t have a genuine love for other people, we have probably forfeited our right to evangelize them.

I think this is especially true for those times when we use a more “confrontational approach.” What do you think?


3 Comments

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  1. 10-31-2009

    Alan,

    Having seen far too much of the damage done to unsuspecting people who are often merely “prospects”, who must be crossed off on a list, or the targets of predators, I agree, without reservation, with that last paragraph.

    I feel a true story coming on about such predators: Imagine what image of Christ people are seeing in a couple, who are professed Christians, who feel that they must get a “decision” from every person who walks into or past their shop. They berate people, who won’t listen to their diatribe, with dire warnings of the hell, and speak ill of all who will not give them satisfaction.

  2. 11-1-2009

    You might enjoy this recent article I wrote (and yes, made the charts for–I love visuals) entitled, Missional Evangelism or Messyological Evangeliving? at
    http://churchtaskforce.org/resources/evangelismconceptshere

    Brief excerpt:

    The kind of influence I have can be superficial and only produce conformity at best. These tend to be based on my position, wealth, power, or other admired traits in the society (beauty, education, etc.).

    Transformational influence comes from the power of selfless service and sacrifice for others. This allows the life of the Vine to flow through the branches. Counterfeits to this are the sort of manipulative “caregiving” that uses coercion to produce conformity (such as when …

  3. 11-6-2009

    In evangelism, bring people to an understanding of the gospel of Christ, God will work in them. It’s not about converting them, its about helping them understand the gospel, the gospel will convert them. It is the power of God unto salvation. People don’t want you converting them, but they would like to understand what the gospel is all about. The attitude of it is evident to people. Out of love for them help them to understand what it is and why it is important. Jude 22,23 Of some have compassion, making a difference. Others save with fear, bringing them out of the fire. Love is the motivation, love for God, for the glory of Jesus first. Then love for people. Love is the bond of perfectness and it covers a multitude of sins.