“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT
You may be familiar with the phrase, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” This line is often used to express the thought that the presentation of truth matters as much as the truth itself. To put it simply, it is possible to say the right thing the wrong way.
If you grew up in Nigeria, you might be familiar with those scary tracts with drawings of people languishing in what was depicted as hellfire. Or maybe the sound of a megaphone has woken you up before, with a man or woman singing loudly about how only true believers will be raptured on the Last Day.
Now, this is the truth. Or at least, some of it. The Bible does say in Matthew 13:49-50 that the wicked will be cast into the furnace of fire, and in John 3:16 that whosoever believes will not perish. However, it is a poor presentation of the wonderful message of salvation.
The gospel is good news. The angel of God in Luke 2:10 called it good tidings of great joy! This means that the gospel ought to spark joy in the heart of the hearer! However, when delivered the wrong way, it produces undesired results.
In John 4:7-29, we see Jesus lead by example with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus knew her history but didn’t castigate her or spend the whole time telling her about what fate awaited sinners like her in hell. Instead, He preached the truth from a place of compassion, and it was well received.
If the gospel is a message about the love of God, that same love must be evident in how you preach it. It should not portray fear or compulsion or threat, but be laced in love. Remain gentle as a dove even when the person might be unfriendly. Like Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
Don’t also forget that the devil has blinded many from seeing the light (2 Corinthians 4:4). So, do your best to pray for every soul you will encounter on your evangelism trip. Pray that their eyes will be opened, and that the light of God’s Word will flood their hearts.
Rethink your strategy and approach to evangelism. Don’t be the reason someone rejects the gospel. Preach with gentleness and respect, as you communicate the heart of the Father.
The fact that there are people who might not want to hear you out no matter how nicely you present the message should not affect your position. If anyone would refuse to hear, let it not be because you were ungracious or insensitive.
Today and beyond, let your understanding that the gospel is good news find expression in your preaching of it.
Bible Reading Plan: Judges 8-10