A friend of mine named Marty has often said that people today view evangelism as an act of aggression, when it is really an act of compassion. That statement is so true. (I wish I would have thought of that.)
Even among Christians, the idea of sharing the gospel with someone and inviting them to trust Christ as their Lord and Savior smacks of shoving the gospel down their throat. We are so fearful, in our post-modern context, of being offensive that we soft pedal the message of Christ – we tone it down for fear of losing our friendship with the people we are witnessing to.
Certainly, there is a danger of being offensive with the gospel. The smacking someone over the head with the big black Bible technique comes to mind when I write that. I must admit that there have been times in my life when I have presented the gospel in an offensive manner. (A couple of encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses come to mind.)
Posture makes the difference.
We can choose to be aggressive or compassionate in sharing the gospel. Aggressive means we are only looking for another notch on our gospel belt. Compassionate means we will sow in tears as we tell our friends and loved ones about Jesus and His love. An aggressive posture means I am out to prove you wrong no matter what and your opinion doesn’t matter. A compassionate posture means I have set myself aside and that you are a person of great value to me and God.
The Bible says that Jesus looked upon the crowds and “He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 HCSB)
Where is our compassion for the lost?