Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes

Scripture tells us that we are to “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 4: 5. Therefore we need to consider carefully how we approach people with the Gospel. After all, we don’t want to alienate people so that they avoid us like the plague every time we are in their vicinity.

As the old saying goes, it is good sometimes to “Put ourselves in someone else’s shoes”. This genuinely can be a great help if we want to improve the way in which we share the most important message with those who need to hear it.

We need the wisdom that God provides so we can witness as Christ commanded us to, by making the most of every opportunity that presents itself to us.  God chooses to use you and me; we are carriers of the Gospel. What an honour this is! Let’s not forget that the Holy Spirit will always help us as we glorify Christ and make an effort to build God’s kingdom.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.Proverbs 4: 7

“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” James 1: 5

We therefore need to pray, asking the Lord to help us and to provide us with wisdom so that we can be more effective at sharing the good news.

Key Point: Ask God for wisdom. He gives to everyone liberally.

Below are just a couple of points worth considering as we endeavour to witness:

When you witness:-

·        Do you come across as a stereotypical Christian? Some people perceive that they are unable to relate to believers in Christ. Often thinking that are often judging, hypocritical and completely blinkered in their views and opinions.

·        Do you use Christian terminology that people may not have heard before?  Unfamiliar terms can sound like a foreign language. Be considerate of this and explain if necessary to avoid any misunderstandings.

I heard a story about a pastor of a church who was trying to reach a group of bikers with the Gospel. Over a period of time he carefully nurtured a relationship with them and managed to organise a meal at a restaurant. While they were eating, a member of the pastor’s church was also dining there and went over to tell him about a recent men’s event that he’d attended.  The man used phrases like “Praise The Lord”, “Glory to God” and “Hallelujah” as he enthusiastically described the occasion and concluded with, “After the meeting we had a great time of fellowship with the brothers!”

The pastor was aware of the bikers’ confused expressions as they listened. It made no sense to them and the church goer could have been speaking Chinese as far as they were concerned!

What would make you feel awkward if you were not a believer and someone shared their faith?

We should always be mindful of this issue. Some Christians are very excitable or speak very loudly as they share.
I have known some Christians who have tried to loudly witness to someone in front of work colleagues. All this accomplished was to make everyone present feel awkward and embarrassed resulting people avoiding the Christian from then onwards.
As a young Christian I wanted everyone to know about Jesus. I literally couldn’t help myself at times. One hot sunny afternoon, I was visiting a friend who was an unbeliever. The lounge windows of his house were wide open to allow what  little breeze there was outside into the room.

He lived on estate where the houses had been built close together. After a brief chat, lunch was brought to us and as it was placed on the table I loudly started to say grace. My friend stopped me saying “Moray, please!” He was appalled by what I said because he was afraid his neighbours would hear. I learned an important lesson. As a boss of mine said many years ago, “Moray, always engage your brain before speaking!”
It is important though, that we still rely on divine promptings because sometimes the Holy Spirit will inspire us to speak. In my experience, when this is the case, it has always been at the right time. God’s timing is always perfect.
It helps to learn from each other’s experiences. I would greatly appreciate your comments on what would make you feel awkward as an unbeliever, when someone shared their faith with you.