How To Be Confident Without Being a Jerk.
Christianity by its very nature is a faith to be shared. God has shared His grace with us that we might be saved. Jesus gave His life so that we might receive that grace. Believers share the hope that we have in Christ so others can know what God has done on our behalf. So why do we sometimes come off like insensitive jerks when telling others about Jesus? I think it comes down to “forcing” ourselves on others. There are unflattering perceptions and stereotypes on Christians such as: they are holier than thou, or arrogant or self-righteous, and in some cases, jerks. But the last thing we want to do is intentionally or unintentionally put more hurdles to jump over or hoops to jump through for people to receive the gospel.
Bottom Line: Be bold but never rude.
Something To Talk About:
The perception of being a jerk and being a jerk is two different things. We can seem like a jerk when we have a passion for a lost family member or friend and maybe we just tried too hard or too often, and turned the individual off. So what do we do? Let me share three secrets to ensure you are bold but not rude:
- Pray: Too often our enthusiasm level can wane when we have spent hours pouring truth into somebody’s life without any positive result. The best response in that situation is to pray. It is much easier for me to give up on the lost than to pray for them. When you have tried, pray that God draws them to Himself. Pray that they would seek to know God. Pray that God would use people and circumstances to cause the lost to seek Him out. Pray that God would send someone to reach them, that God would bring a fresh voice to speak into that hard heart. Pray for wisdom to say the right things in the right way at the right time. And pray that they will believe in Christ as their Savior. Prayer is a powerful tool if we use it.
- Watch: Or in other words be alert to the opportunities around us. The best place to start is by watching and learning, before we speak. Paul expresses a personal and specific request that God would open a door for him to share the Gospel. Paul was in prison in Rome, but he still had a burning passion to see people saved. Paul had a real desire to get the good news out to people because of what the Lord had done in his own life. He had a genuine experience with Jesus. His life had been wonderfully changed by Jesus. Paul had learned how to share his faith in all kinds of circumstances. Paul was always looking for open doors of opportunity to share his faith. So should we. But as we do so, we should watch, listen and learn. As theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.” Proverbs 18:13 tell us, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” The wise person watches and listens from a nonjudgmental stance, training himself not to formulate opinions or responses until the whole story has been heard.
- Speak: What are you willing to do so that the people you know will go to Heaven? Invite them to church? Share your story, your testimony? Take them a meal? Pray until they’re saved? There are people we know that face an eternity separated from God. It is our job to speak with them in a way that is bold but not rude. “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:6) Before we can make disciples, we need to make friends and build rapport. Concerning Jesus, Luke 4:22 says, “Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips…” Ephesians 4:15 talks about “…speaking the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” Remember that many people never darken the door of a church because they have never been invited in. We are not showing compassion or love if we choose to keep meekly silent and never share the truth about Christ with those who need desperately to hear it.
- What is the difference between being bold, courageous and confident and being arrogant, condescending and self-righteous?
- What prevents you from living and sharing your faith in Jesus wherever you go? Examples: “No one is interested.” “ They will be offended.” “I’ll come off as being holier than thou or worse as a jerk.”
- The first step to sharing our faith is breaking through false or exaggerated assumptions which hold us back. What assumptions do you have about sharing your faith? Are they the same assumptions non-believers have about Christians? What are practical ways we can take down these walls? How can the Holy Spirit help?
- What can we do to be more observant (watching) and communicate more effectively (speaking)?
- People view tolerance today as the right not to be offended. Agree or disagree and why? But something isn’t wrong just because it offends people; it’s also wrong because it offends God. Sharing your faith with tact and grace is practicing the true meaning of tolerance. Agree or disagree and why?
- What will you do differently this week in response to this message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
How would our testimony be different if we relentlessly loved the non-believers we know.
The hard work of evangelism is most effective when believers speak and act with Christ-like love. Jesus says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35).
Christian love is vital to evangelism because it makes the love of Christ visible for the world to see. The world is watching and must see God’s love on display in our lives.
The unbelieving world must see the Holy spirit enabling Christians to serve others, encourage others, endure hardship, refuse gossip, forgive, and speak the truth in love. How is the love of God visible in your relationships with non-believers? Does your love for others lend credibility to your story?