Adam and Eve sin against God.
Cain kills Abel
God floods the Earth
God confuses people's language
Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed
Abraham tries to sacrifice his son Isaac
Jacob steals from and tricks his twin brother
Judah impregnates his daughter-in-law (though he thought she was just a prostitute)
Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers
Israel tricks Joseph's kids in their blessing
THIS IS JUST THE BOOK OF GENESIS
In other parts of the Bible we could share stories of rape, betrayal, killing, war, exile, siege, towns destroyed, famine, drought, persecution, crucifixion, shipwrecks, imprisonments, floggings, beatings, children dying, demon-possessed, lame, blind, deaf, mute, invalids, adulteress, promiscuity, immorality, suicide, the suffering of Hell.
Everyone of these things mentioned are mentioned in the Bible. And for the most part they are ALL bad. If they aren't necessarily bad they can be told in a disparaging light. And I hope you would stand up and say, but that isn't the WHOLE story. Because it isn't the whole story. And If I were someone wanting more out of what life has dealt me and was searching for a God who loves, this would not be a sales pitch that would entice me. I think you will agree.
Then why when some decide to Evangelize, they decide to share the worst parts of humanity to get to Jesus. I understand that you cannot appreciate the mountain top without having seen the valley, however, people needing Jesus and wanting to see what this God-thing is all about probably already know the landscape of a valley.
Some think it is enough to pick the sin-list that Paul provides in some of his letters or his moral/ethical teachings and then say "You need Jesus!" The problem with that thought is that when you do decide to lay down some of the sin burdens you carry, you may think you don't need him anymore. And that just isn't true! EVERYONE needs Jesus. It doesn't matter what you've done or not done or who you've been or not been. None of us are perfect and all of us need Christ. That is why Paul could always take time to boast of his sufferings rather than his victories.
When we evangelize (evangelize means good news) we should share the good news of Jesus! Build a relationship with someone because you have common interest and enjoy one another's company. And in the midst of that they will know that you follow Jesus. Look them in the eye and share with them that Jesus desires for all people to come to him, not to be reprimanded or punished, but to find true love. Everyone is looking for love. People never can have enough. They will never tire of the pursuit. Give them Jesus whose fountain of love never runs dry. Introduce them to the one who can make them whole and offers grace so that any wall of hostility or sin will be broken down so that He can simply enjoy the relationship.
There will be a time to talk specifically about sin and the danger of the prince of darkness and his prowling ways. But in order to lead someone to Christ you probably wouldn't open with the story of Judah and Tamar, so try opening with what God has done for you and how He loves beyond all other things. And when they decide to trust you and God enough to open up about the sin, darkness, and brokenness in their life, then they will know how to fill that void. It won't be an angry, fear-induced Jesus or God who his ready to strike people down dead. It will be a Jesus who welcomed children, prostitutes, tax-collectors, adulteresses, lepers, betrayers, and criminals.
This is my final blog for this series: Ten Thoughts I have had
1. Criticalvangelism may be a better made up word
2. We don't have to water-down the Bible to tell a better story for God
3. It is time to take back the gospel from those who want to use it to hurt others
4. God is Love!
5. Finger-pointing doesn't glorify God
6. Just because a sin is listed in the Bible, doesn't give you the right to chastise those who commit it
7. Paul is speaking to the Christian Community and had a relationship with those he corrected
8. Jesus saves with or without you joining Him in that work
9. Truth is truth whether you believe it or not and whether you speak it or not
10. Jesus treated sinners with great compassion and kindness and Religious leaders with great criticism and loving rebuke