"You're Going to Hell!" Maybe Christians Need A Better Way Of Witnessing?
As Christians, we all want to bring people to Christ. But, why does it seem so hard? Do you remember the first time a Christian tried to witness to you? I sure do. I was in my early 20s on a college campus. Unbeknownst to them, I had been Christian all my life but decided to go ahead and let them give me their best speal. There was a lot of talk about fire and brimstone, lots of talk on how I was a sinner and if I didn’t shape up my terrible ways I was going straight to Hell. They did mention how I needed Jesus, but it was always followed by an “or else”. As I listened, I kept asking myself, why? Why after 30 seconds of this witness attempt, I was just hearing, blah, blah, blah, like the teacher in the old Charlie Brown cartoons. In fact, it made Christianity sound downright scary.
So it got me thinking, was there a better way? How could I share the Christian message to others without driving them right out the door? So, I sat down and focused on what I thought were the (4) four main points I wanted to share with my friends and others regarding my Christian faith. And here they are:
God and humanity are meant to be together. From the very beginning, in the Book of Genesis, we see this basic principle in action: God and humanity are meant to be together. God creates humanity in His own image, so that He can love us and we might love Him. He places humanity in the Garden of Eden, our first real glimpse of Heaven on earth. The garden is beautiful. Resources are plentiful. God walks among humanity. He speaks to us. There is a perfect harmony among God and humanity. There is no hate, bigotry, violence, poverty or division when we are in union with God.
God wants us to live a holy and meaningful life right here and now. As Christians, we often are stereotyped by non-believers as just people who care about the afterlife. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. God wants us to live a meaningful and holy life right here and right now. How do we know this? We just turn back to the Bible narrative. God frees the Israelites from slavery, leads them to a Promised Land and has them establish a Kingdom right here on earth. And though sin mucks up the works quite a bit in the Old Testament, God continues to lead, love and guide His people back to that Promised Land. He’s doing the same thing for us today. God frees us from our bondages, leads us through our deserts with His love and guidance, so our lives might be holy and have purpose building the Kingdom of God right here and now.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. So if God and humanity are meant to be together and God wants us to live a holy and meaningful life right here and now, how do we do that? It’s simple. Once again, we go right back to the Bible texts. That’s Jesus. First, God had to remove the barrier separating us from Him. Christ, through His death and resurrection, does just that. But, Jesus also shows us, through His own life and teachings here on earth, how we too can live in holiness and purpose according to God’s desires. We need Jesus, not just because He saves us from the perils of Hell, but because He truly shows us the way back to God, the truth of God’s promises and the life God desires for all of us.
And what’s the final point?
Humanity will be reunited with God. Yes, there is a Heaven (and a Hell) but, that brings us to the dramatic conclusion of the Bible. Just as Genesis begins with God and humanity in perfect union with one another, the Book of Revelation completes the Divine Plan with a new heaven and a new earth joining together again. Through His love and Jesus Christ, God restores and reunites humanity with Himself again. And regardless of who are, God created us all unique and special with a mix of gifts and talents. He gave us all a role to play in that reunification. That’s Good News.
I’ve found that leading with these four points will often at least get the person to listen and maybe even ask some questions. What are your witnessing stories (both good and bad). What other suggestions would you have? God bless!