I was just thinking about how the nonbeliever sees the believer who is trying to communicate the Gospel to them. When we approach a person with the intent of telling them the Gospel, we have to understand that there are many presuppositions that these people already have about Christianity. I was talking to someone yesterday and realized some things as we started the conversation. Before I got to any Gospel part of what I was going to say, I just asked her a basic question about life and eternity. She responded by saying that we have to just be as good as we can and do as much good as possible while we are here. I have a feeling that most people understand Christianity as a 'good works' religion. They may consider themselves as good people, or people who aren't 'that bad'.
Here is my thought for the day; How many times do we approach someone with the Gospel, only to find them offended, but not directly because of the Gospel, but perhaps indirectly. What I mean is that most people believe that our salvation comes from being good, or having done good deeds, or maybe a combination of both. When we offer them a tract, they automatically assume that we think we are better than they are, because we have met the standard of whatever God requires to get into heaven. So, before we even get to say too many words to them, they have already categorized us and feel threatened by us, that we are going to make them conform to our standards and be like us (and join our church and believe what we believe, etc). They think that we (the holy people) are looking at them (the unholy people) and think that we are going to judge them.
Sometimes, I forget that people think like that, and I am the one that gets offended! I shouldn't because they don't know any better. It is a different story if I talk to them about the Gospel, and then they reject it. I know they are rejecting God, and not necessarily me! I will pray for them.
So, how can this mindset be changed on the part of the person who is on the receiving end of hearing the Gospel? I need to be patient with them. I need to realize that they understand life that way because no one has ever taught them the truth. They make false assumptions based on a faulty worldview and ignorance. I have to have compassion on them.
I was thinking of something that happened to a friend many years ago. One time he was with a person that didn't know the Lord. The other person thought that my friend was holy and didn't want to use bad language around him. I find that interesting. On the one hand, yes, because of the blood of Christ, my friend was holy, but he was also a sinner just like the other guy. It is good when people see the holiness of God in us. But it is not good if people think that that holiness comes from within ourselves. So it is important for people that do not know the Lord yet to hear the Gospel, and it is of utmost importance that they understand the doctrine of man. Man is sinful from birth. Committing acts of sin is not caused by a bad environment or being in the wrong crowd. It is part of our fiber. We are just beggars telling other beggars where to find bread. But we also have to communicate the Grace of God. The grace of God is amazing because our sin is great. Salvation is greater than our sin, but if our sin isn't big in our eyes, salvation won't be big either.
Here are the words to a song called 'Evil Grows'. I think it is applicable in different ways to our relationship as human beings to sin. I don't think the Poppy Family intended any spiritual meaning when they sang this song, but look at some of the words to this song:
Evil grows in the dark
Where the sun, it never shines.
Evil grows in cracks and holes
And lives in people's minds.
Evil grew, it's part of you.
And now it seems to be,
That everytime I look at you
Evil grows in me.
If I could build a wall around you
I could control the thing that you do.
But I couldn't kill the will within you
And it never shows
The place where evil grows.