If you want to keep a guy from jumping off a bridge, please don’t try to stop him by just telling him it will hurt if he jumps. Also, I doubt saying, “Go ahead and jump, but you’ll die a HORRIBLE death sucker” is going to help much either! In other words, stating the obvious, especially in a rather mean spirited manner isn’t much of a deterrent to a desperate soul who is likely just seeking help. Wouldn’t it make more sense to convince the jumper of all the incredible reasons he has to live? Speak life…not death!
I’m not going to drone on and on about the subject I have chosen to speak on today, but know this: Jesus loves people and expects His kids to show love to others. I do not recall the Lord ever saying,
“Do all you can to shame those sorry, dirty sinners into repentance. If that doesn’t work, just scare the bejeebers out of them with some mean-spirited clichés slapped across your church signs”
Two times this week, I’ve driven by local Dalton churches that somehow decided it was a great idea to share the following message on their sign:
“How do you like your eternity? Smoking or non-smoking?”
Honestly, I felt like throwing up! Are you kidding me? I find it to be incredibly nauseating knowing that any group of believers would stoop to that level of manipulation and so mindlessly paint such a villainous picture of “the Church” and Christianity.
I can hear people now, “Yeah Ken, but that’s true! If they don’t turn…they’re gonna burn!”
I will not deny it. That is true, BUT good grief people, is that the “good news” message of the Gospel Jesus called us all to share?
“Hey guys, listen up. I’ve got some good news for you. If you don’t turn from your rotten sin, you’re going to Hell and will burn forever!”
THAT…is NOT good news. THAT, is only part of the story, and NOT the best part at all!
The problem with the “Hell’s waiting for you sucker” message conveyed on these signs is it only speaks of the end result of dying in one’s sin, and NOTHING of God’s grace, love, or His amazing remedy for our sin condition through His son. Not only that, it absolutely gives off a “We Christians are good, but you suck” attitude.
Jesus came to set the captives free! His coming was nothing less than a rescue mission put into motion by a merciful Father that wants no one to perish! In fact, let’s just look at one of the fundamental scriptures used throughout history in conveying the “good news” of the Gospel to the world.
Jesus said it this way in the book of John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”
Now THAT is good news! Thank God indeed that Jesus didn’t approach the lost with the same insensitivity that we do! Read the book folks! The lost loved the guy! He was awesome and they wanted to be around him! These sinners knew He cared. They felt a genuine sense of love and compassion emanating from him and THAT SINCERITY OPENS DOORS EVERY TIME!
And what about our, “Hey buddy, go ahead and jump cause no one cares” message?
All I can say is this:
One day we will all give an account for our words, attitudes, and actions. My fear is that many of us will be shocked to find out much of what we considered to be “evangelistic” was in reality nothing more than. . . .