“Stop throwing the Bible AT people. Not everyone needs an artillery barrage of quotes. What they DO need is for us to SHARE the Bible, Jesus Christ and the Gospel, with them”
Posing the question some days ago on Facebook, I asked my friends to offer their input as to how they handle a type of situation. When we tend to receive the cold-shoulder, the reactionless, blank-stare or the wide-eyed-look of “oh no, another Christian is gonna throw the Bible at me”, what do we do? How can we better learn to avoid this? Not avoid the happening, but prevent the need for it?
A great many people (once, including myself) react in such a way as to describe how they have so often tried to get it, used to go to church, God & Jesus just aren’t real, etc. Most of us will immediately, regardless of their reactions, begin to “throw the Bible” at them and begin to uselessly quote what little scripture we know, to the best of our abilities. We tend to enter into a sales pitch, rather than a testimony or offer witness.
I’ll use a challenge, faced by own son, who has been blind since birth. A very, serious challenge of what would seem, rather simple, on the surface and yet, remains quite perplexing. Spending many days, “telling” a young boy how to tie his shoelaces, when he cannot see them, watch the process or frankly, understand it without significant limitation, is challenging, indeed.
Finding a solution, a means of “showing” him and “sharing” how, that is the answer. He has a special need, my son must do almost everything, via touch and hearing. So, in order to teach him, we must find a means by which he can feel the process, while hearing the explanation.
And this is much like what we need to learn with regard to witnessing. How we should refrain from thumping the Bible, throwing it (and the kitchen sink) AT someone…finding a means of sharing the Gospel and Jesus Christ with them. Stop telling and start showing and sharing. There comes a point, for every man, woman and child, that salvation, must become absolutely, personal. And in order for this to happen, we must make it personal and relatable, to them.
Jesus, spent much of his time, teaching people in a personable manner. The apostle Paul, related to people and their sins, hardships, weaknesses, as did Christ. They related to people and people could relate to them. Both, found a way to make it personal and share their love for others, by not only sharing the scripture, but showing their love and stories.
Perhaps, in another analogy? Certain persons are rather successful at selling automobiles? Why? They have a talent for NOT throwing fancy, technical jargon at people who are clueless as to what that means. Instead, they take the time to artfully, descriptively, explain how such bells and whistles will benefit the buyer. The salesperson is able to effectively articulate the cost-to-benefit of the item and justify how it will become a wise, buying decision.
Face it, people, especially buyers, are a practical people. They want to know what they are getting for their investment, why, how and under what terms. People want the nuts and bolts, firstly; they can become a whiz, later. Not to say people don’t do their research at times, but many people, with regard to the Bible, simply do not. Or, they have done just enough to be self-detrimental and destructive. Even worse, they have encountered precisely, one-too-many a Bible-throwing, quote-babbling, impersonal or seemingly, disingenuous witness, already.
We need to learn how to share and explain the bells and whistles, features, and costs (yes, there are indeed costs) of a decision of faith. Assuredly, we are NOT selling anything, but people almost always take it as a sales pitch. They think that you want or expect something from them and they don’t like giving in to pressured purchases, do they? Do we?
My hopes for you all are simple, in that, I desire for us each, to build and design effective bridges. Bridges which span the gap and eliminate the divide or disconnect, to others. In the olden days, preachers would simply scare and horrify people into repentance and salvation. Screaming and yelling, fingers pointed and pounding of ham-sized fists…well, it has its affect, doesn’t it?
People could use….a lot, of compassion, couldn’t they? Jesus made a pointed effort to be gentle, kind and above all else, personable, with people. Christ spoke to everyone as children, and children, especially kindly. Christ understood how hard life is and that an oppressed people did not need or even desire, more oppression, fear tactics and endless quoting of the Law & scripture; they needed someone to show and tell.
All of the teachings Jesus did, were ones of effectively showing and telling of the “good news” as He spoke. Sitting down with people, with them and not at them. Jesus reached people in such as ways as I love and attempt, compassionately and gently. He didn’t always reach everyone, but many that he did reach, were reached with a method of personable, descriptive teachings. He was able to show and tell, just what salvation, faith, trust, belief, etc. would do and why it was all necessary.
Sometimes, it’s perfectly alright to lay your Bible aside for a few moments and simply talk with people. Later on, open it up, open your hearts and show the wonders of the Gospel. Take the time to share it, alive and descriptive, like one shares a bedtime story with a child…tenderly, affectionately and above all else, with involvement. Remember, our desire is to bring others into the family, not keep them at an arms-length distance. Does one respond better to screaming the message, down the hall or by having it, spoken to them, face-to-face, with a gentle voice?