Sharing Jesus With People Who Think They've Known Him All AlongApr 17, 2023
This article is part 2 of last week's where we discussed the impact of how news is reported and how algorithms affect whether or not we hear it. Our goal is to discover how best to share the good news with people today.
My "truth" vs. your "truth"
Perhaps it was Oprah Winfrey who made speaking "my truth" so popular. When she encourages people to speak their truth, she's most often encouraging them to share their perspective assuring them that their story matters.
While it's certainly important to hear each others' stories and validate another's perspective, that is very different than calling one's perspective truth. A better way of encouraging others would be to acknowledge and validate their point of view.
I understand why Oprah referred to the sharing of one's perspective "their truth." By calling their point of view their truth she was acknowledging that they sincerely believed (whatever it was) and that their belief was valid even if it differed from the perspective of others. Many times we do the opposite. Think of how you felt the first time someone said, "Well, that's your perspective!" Or, "that's what you think." And their tone of voice inferred that your perspective and point of view was invalid.
Sharing the Truth Without Condemnation
We want to change that. Somehow we want to hear the heart of our loved ones and be able to share our own with them without telling them they're wrong and we're right. What we need is a new way of sharing our perspectives without ridicule and condemnation. The filter bubbles we discussed in the previous article have NOT helped us to construct this.
As Christ-followers and modern-day heralds of the gospel (go back to last week's article to see what I mean by this), we would do well to approach our mission field like missionaries approach theirs. Missionaries prepare for the field by studying the "filter bubbles" and "echo chambers" of the people who live there and they adjust both their words and their actions accordingly.
In this article, 9 Practical Ways to Prepare for Missions, Mike Pettengill gives us some great advice. Let me see if I can consolidate his list and relate it to how we might become heralds of the Gospel on our mission fields littered with people who think they already know all there is to know about Jesus.
1. Get cross-cultural and learn languages.
You may think that we share the same culture with the people in our nation, but we don't. We are divided by age, socio-economics, geography, interests and various other things that, thanks to the good ol' algorithms, have isolated us from each other.
We don't necessarily have to learn actual foreign languages (like Pettengill saying), I'm talking about the cultural language of the people your loved one hangs with. Take note of music, news outlets, and other areas of interest that the people you want to reach are engaging with. Expose yourself to what they are listening to and learn. Ask yourself how believing like this podcaster believes might impact your life. Ask God to give you discernment so that you can understand what's being communicated under the surface of what's being said.
Stretch yourself and do something you've never done before. Does your person live in a big city? Go visit it, and learn how to navigate the subway system! Do they love the outdoors? Take a hike and breathe the air.
2. Study Scripture.
As you expose yourself to thoughts that are new to you, stay grounded in the Word. Study the gospels and invite the Holy Spirit to show you how Jesus was turning the first century religious leaders' minds inside out.
Memorize passages of Scripture that will anchor you in your faith. Here are a few you might consider committing to memory: Colossians 2:6-14, Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 1:18-25.
As you prayerfully wait for the opportunity to have spiritual discussions with your loved one, share Jesus often with the people you rub shoulders with throughout your life. Make a commitment to share Jesus with someone weekly and watch how God provides you with the people to hear.
4. Be Uncomfortable and Serve Others.
Do things you have never thought to do. Stretch yourself. Go places you've never been. Participate in activities that make you nervous. Volunteer with people who are very different than you are. Find ways to love people anonymously. Focus on blessing people you can bless as you pray for the opportunity to bless the one you love.
5. Pray more.
Pettengill said this, "Condition yourself to make prayer the first and last response to every situation." When you pray, align yourself with God's heart. He knows best when and how to draw people to Himself and He is eager to have your hands and feet ready to respond to His prompting. Trust God and love well.
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