Note: In honor of approaching the time of Thanksgiving (“Turkey Day”), we’re posting a short series of Evangelism Turkeys. The poor Turkey—long associated with flops, busts, and shortcomings— will get a few more to add to his repertoire this week. Keep checking until Turkey Day! Which, for you, will hopefully not be a Turkey.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” However, He also said, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).
Many times in seeking to obey the first verse, believers forget to abide by the second. Obviously, if we were in the other person’s shoes, we would want someone to tell us about Jesus. However, here are a few things we probably would not want them to do to us when sharing Christ, but may find ourselves doing:
1. Talking, but not listening – Don’t you hate it when you are having a conversation, and you can’t get in a word edgewise. It’s like you are trying to enter a highway during rush hour and no one will let you in. That is exactly how people feel when we monopolize the conversation.
God gave us two ears and one mouth. We should adhere to that ratio when talking with people: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). We mistakenly think to be a good evangelist is to be a good talker. Some of the best I know are primarily good listeners.
2. Refusing to take no for an answer – Does telemarketing come to mind? The person goes on and on and on no matter how many times you say no, almost like they are reading from a script. Not taking “no” for an answer not only annoys people at that moment, it also makes it much less likely that the person will want to talk to you again.
3. Tell them, then drop them – Early in our marriage, another couple showed a keen interest in getting to know my wife and me. They were so complimentary, almost extremely so. One night the husband called and said he had an interesting offer for me. I jokingly asked if it involved a well-known multi-level marketing company.
He went silent for 10 seconds, then he said, “Yes, as a matter of fact, it does.” Then he proceeded to sell me on the program. After I politely refused several times (see number 2 above), we said goodbye. From then on, they had nothing to do with us. Some people act similarly in evangelism. They purposely make friends to share the gospel, which is not a bad motive of course, but then if the person says “no,” they drop them like yesterday’s news. Not cool, at all.
In our efforts to take Christ to the world, we need to remember to treat people with dignity and respect. We are not salespeople, we are His ambassadors. Representing Christ is not only about the words we say, but how we say them.