Tricky Topics in the Bible

What Would Jesus Do: Preach?

There’s a trend in today’s churches, and it’s thinking runs along these lines: We need to understand where people are coming from, listen to them, sympathize with them, not tell them our opinion unless they ask for it, be gracious and loving to them, and make sure we have a relationship with them before we tell them that they’re wrong. Have you heard that?

This trend is good, and it’s bad.

It’s good because we need to have compassion on people. We need to have mercy and grace. That’s what the Bible teaches, isn’t it? God has had mercy on us, so we should have mercy on others (Matthew 5:7, for example).

It’s bad because it makes us afraid to tell other people the truth. We don’t want to be avoided as if we were “negative” people. I mean, you know what they say: “Avoid toxic people.” We don’t want to be “toxic,” do we? We don’t want to bash people over the head with the truth–we want to form relationships. And then, someday . . . we might venture to express our opinions. When they’re ready, of course.

People are quick to point to Jesus and say that He was full of grace for people, that He befriended sinners and dined with them. He did, didn’t He?

Yes.

But is that all He ever did? Sit down at wells and chat with sinful women about their pasts? Is Jesus a comfy-couch psychologist taking notes and nodding His head while we pour out our failures and fears?

This question came to mind as I watched this video the other day capturing a man at an abortion clinic being attacked both verbally and physically by a woman who had just come out of it. The woman’s words and actions are atrocious. The shock, to me, was how the people responded in the comments: some had it all turned around–they somehow saw a video of an angry man preaching hate to a vulnerable woman who just needed to be understood. What video were they watching, I wonder? And what Bible do they read?

It was intriguing to me that as the publisher of the video tried to refocus people’s attention on the main issue through the straightforward question, “Is abortion murder?” nobody bothered to respond to it. They sidestepped it and chose to target the peripheral issue, that of just HOW the man on the sidewalk should have approached the woman. According to them, he should have 1)either not said anything at all, or 2)asked the woman to coffee, or something. But that doesn’t address the fact that children are being murdered in the facility she just left. She ignored him when he mentioned this, and so did many of the people who commented on the video. The main thought in my head was, “Who’s standing up for the children?”

Here’s the truth: if we knew that there was a slaughter house down the street that was devoted to ripping apart the bodies of little two-year-olds, we would tear down the doors and rescue those innocent little toddlers from their evil torturers. And we would preach to every single soul that even DARED to have a part in it, YOU BET WE WOULD!!!

I’m amazed that the man on the sidewalk was so calm and collected; he was so polite even when the lady threw her drink at him and spewed lies at him. I wanted to pat him on the shoulder and say,

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-11).

I wanted to share with him the story of the prophet Micaiah (2 Chronicles 18) who was the only man who told the truth–though it was extremely unpopular at the time–against the word of 400 false prophets who said only what the king wanted to hear, what made him feel good about himself. Do you think maybe Jesus was referring in part to him?

Is preaching to people wrong? I mean, should anybody ever preach to people when they’re not actually sitting in a chair in a church service? Is it okay to tell people the truth without always “investing in a relationship” first?”

So, what would Jesus do? Would he ever preach to people? Let’s take a look:

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

This is so good, I feel like standing up on the top of a chair and giving a cheer: Jesus preached repentance! How can anybody miss that?

How can we have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus unless we first REPENT of our sin? It is impossible to be near to the Lord in an intimate friendship when we’re still trying to hide our sin from Him. Folks, if we want to get close to Jesus, we need to be REAL with Him. We can’t be like that woman and make a claim on Jesus’ forgiveness while at the same time denying that we’ve ever done anything wrong–while yelling at the prophets (sidewalk preachers) Jesus sends them to warn them to repent. Didn’t Jesus say that whoever rejects his messengers (who share the truth of His word) rejects Him? (Luke 10:16).

It seems clear to me from the Bible reading I’ve done, that there is a time for sitting down and chatting with women at the well; there is a time for teaching deep truths on a hillside; and there is a time for saying, just like Jesus did, “Repent.”

 

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8 thoughts on “What Would Jesus Do: Preach?

  1. This is something I’ve been in contemplation about. How to share the word of God and fellowship through compassion, but not compromise my faith. I know that we are all on a journey. All at different paces. The word says do not cause others to stumble (and I’m paraphrasing), but at what point do we understand that there will be times that the best approach is the straight-foward love approach. In many parts of the Bible when Jesus spoke he didn’t mince words. I hope we all continue to pray for his discernment in all that we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Chrystal!
      I think most of us are in the same place: we wonder exactly HOW to share the truth with others, since there is certainly more than one way.

      It seems to me that it would have to be a situation-by-situation sort of thing, and we would have to do our best (with prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit) to discern the best approach for each, as you pointed out.

      And even when the other person totally goes berserk, how can we know that we didn’t do just the right thing in telling them the truth? The other person responded poorly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we didn’t do the right thing in telling them what they NEEDED to hear, regardless of how much (or how little) they WANTED to.

      Great comment!
      Jessica

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  2. It is so difficult to share gospel and our faith with those who do not want to listen.They think that they don’t need it,some of them think ‘religion is useless’ .Even most polite people deny gospel when they do not to want it.

    We all have freedom to choose godly way and not to choose it.I also am caught in dilenma.Respecting their freedom and sharing gospel.What I should do?
    I am finding answer in serving those who God has sent to me.Especially when they tells me about their trouble,struggle in their mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sanae, I really like your approach!
      I agree that sometimes, the best way to share the truth with other people is to be willing to serve those God brings in our path. I imagine you as a very caring and compassionate person! 🙂

      I wonder, though, if there might not be times when we must go to people and tell them the truth even when they don’t want to listen? Isn’t that what missionaries do? Of course, they try to be considerate and respectful of other people’s opinions, but they have to go to the people, and not the people to them.

      I’m not advocating housewives leaving their homes; I’m just wondering how we–as Christians in general–can obey Jesus’ command to “preach the gospel to every creature” if we always wait for people to come to us?

      Just some additional thoughts. 🙂 I loved what you shared, and I think you have some really good points! I want to try to incorporate the more compassionate approach you mentioned in my own life.

      Thank you, Sanae!
      Jessica

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  3. Yes,missionaries go outside to preach gospel,even people there do not want to listen.If God ask us to do so,we have to obey-even it means fighting in spiritual harsh battle. I guess that I may be still afraid to be refused.

    One famous female missionary in China who is a wife, a mother of two kids said ‘Who will spread gospel if all of us stay home?’ .She opened her testimony in public,has visited many places to share gospel and teach hymns.She also came to Japan and USA to share gospel with Chinese people living there.She said that some christians criticized her saying ‘you are disobeying God.’,because she often leaves home for mission trip. Off course with her husband’s agreement-but they thought her first mission is serving family at home.I understand both opinions.

    This is very difficult problem.We should ask God about our personal mission seriously, about what we should do.As for me,I am convinced that my first mission is to serve family.Leaving home long time is very difficult for me now.
    But still I feel that God may ask me more.

    The way you are doing now-serving family as a wife and mother first,sharing gospel through blogging and relationship with others -is what we christian homemakers staying home can do.I think that God gave you mission for His reasons.

    What I am doing is ‘at least’,I think.The point you mentioned is also ongoing problem for me.May He bless you abundantly,and please pray for me,too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Sanae,
      I do agree with you that as wives and mothers, our main sphere of influence must be home-based: through supporting our own husbands, through making disciples of our own children, through blogging (if we have time), and through our relationships with others.

      I am not sure if I agree with a woman leaving her home and family to go on regular missions trips. I mean, to me, it depends. How long are these trips? How far away? Does all the family go, or just the woman? Is she married or single? Who does she go to?

      I think we women have a unique opportunity to minister to our neighbors and those close to us by practicing hospitality (bringing food, gifts, talking with people about God). But beyond that, I don’t think I would support a woman neglecting her household duties to serve other people (if she is married), since her own husband and children come first, unless there was agreement between her and her husband for her to help meet some urgent need that only she could meet (like helping a friend or family member who’s just had a baby and needs help, for example). Or, unless both her and her husband are serving as missionaries together.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! If you have any more to add, I’d love to hear them!
      Jessica

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  4. I watched her on mission trip by youtube video.I’m not sure, but I guess she went with other missionaries,not with her own family.So her action became controversy.The way like conservative mennonite people often do-going mission trip with their own family maybe better,especially for ladies.

    Why I understood her opinion is because of her passion for Chinese people.She prayed a lot for them,hoping them to know Jesus Christ.
    I also live in non christian country as she does.

    I agree with your stance-home based mission.I want to ask Lord more about what I should do staying at home.Thank you,Jessica for sharing your thought,as a homemaker,it means so much for me!

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