When you are in a computer store, shopping for a new computer, your salesperson will assess where you are in your knowledge of electronics and speak to you accordingly so that you can buy-in to why this product is the one for you. He will never get the sale if he speaks to you in the same manner that he speaks to his geekish friends, because he wants the sale! He knows instinctively that if you confuse the customer or make them feel stupid that there’s no way they will buy from you. They will save face, pretend to know what you are talking about, turn, and walk out the door with their dignity intact.
What is it, then, when it comes to salvation and a belief in Our Savior that we think that by slapping “Christianese” or Scripture verses in a chat room, on our Facebook wall or other communications, and bumper stickers that everyone is going to understand immediately the meaning behind your communication and get saved?
So, how do you share your faith? How do you share your encouragement and inspiration when you find it in Scripture?
The first step is to recognize who your audience is. Listen to what they speak about and how the talk about it. Ask questions to understand their frame of reference and their beliefs.
Once you do that, this is NOT the time to slap Bible Verses in their face or to correct their beliefs so they match up with your own. Frankly, this is disrespectful and insulting and does nothing to represent Christ. However, it represents clearly, organized religion and will reinforce any perceptions that the person may have in regards to religion.
Unfortunately, this behavior is all too familiar and it mistakenly reflects upon what is perceived as the true nature of Christ. (Confrontational)
When Jesus approached someone He honored them by asking them what they wanted. He didn’t assume. He invited. He led. He didn’t push. Even when He offered healing and relief from their pain and their sins. He didn’t argue over semantics and how they should be speaking – He moved to their frame of reference, talked to them in their language and then LED them to another answer.
Listen with the intention to serve. To hear clearly where the person’s heart is, and to identify what they need and want. If they aren’t asking you for anything, then you have no need to give them anything. Even if it appears obvious. Your information, gift, or resource was not asked for, therefore, if you force it on them, it will be given a meaning that you are not going to like.
Praying for wisdom and asking how to become better at asking clarifying questions is a prayer I pray often. It’s way to easy to offer what I perceive to be the obvious solution – only to be surprised at the person’s response or attack.
Before you can solve a problem that involves another human being, you need to be on the same team with them. This is where agreement matters.
Ask yourself what your TRUE motives are! Be brutal in checking your own heart. What’s your pay-off? To be right? To be better-than? To be validated because you “got it?”
You can say that your motive was to heal, and to save … but is that what the person has asked for? If your motive is to convince them – then your hidden motive is not as pretty as you’d like to think it is.
Before you go slapping scripture verses around or correcting someone else in their words, ask yourself if you are in a state of humility and love? Or judgment and pride. We all love to be right – and to be the hero, but is that your role or God’s?
You are a vessel. Not the judge – not the Savior – not the Lamb taken to slaughter (martyr). Your job is to simply flow with God and what He has put into you, AS He put it into you – with love, mercy, grace, kindness, self-control, patience, gentleness, not holding account to wrong .. (you get the drift)