To Tell or Not to Tell, that is the Question
Being a follower of Christ is about more than just seeing how many names we can add to the heavenly roster.
I wrote an article recently about the pastor of a small Hispanic church that is helping mentor students at a few Smyrna schools. The need for stable role models for many students in these schools is great and the pastor said he was as surprised as anyone else when he was asked to help fill that void.
He was clear with me from the beginning of our interview that religion never enters into the conversations that he has with the students he mentors – the separation of church and state have to be respected, of course.
As I was writing the article, however, I found myself wondering what approach should be taken while helping someone when there are no boundaries for what can be said? When I have the freedom to truly speak my mind how should I, as a Christian, handle people looking to me for help?
Often times I think that some of my fellow believers would rather try and push their beliefs onto a person rather than show them love or offer help for whatever need they may have. I believe that simply telling someone about Jesus is not enough. What good does it do to tell someone that Jesus is the solution to their problem without any other action on our part? If Jesus lives in us, then we most likely are the help that they need.
While I believe that Jesus is certainly capable of performing miracles today, simply telling a homeless person that God is the answer to their problems by handing them a tract with scripture on it isn’t going to do much.
In fact, it may cause bitterness in them once they realize that their situation hasn’t changed simply by reading what the tract says. What a homeless person needs is food, a warm blanket, knowledge to acquire a job or maybe even help overcoming an addiction.
I recently discussed this issue with a friend as we hiked up Kennesaw Mountain. My friend is a Christian and has a non-profit organization that helps meet a large need for people in impoverished countries – yet he still is cautious about what their approach should be when it comes to telling those that they help about Christ.
While they make periodic visits to these countries, his team is only there for a short while each time. And even though they make a significant impact with the work they do, after they leave, the people of that country are still left in poverty. He wants his team to prove themselves to these people before they try to convert them to a different religion – prove that they are what followers of Christ should be.
Jesus’ last words were to go out into the world and ‘make disciples of all nations’ but I think many of us Christians have taken these words and ran with them without putting enough thought into what they really mean. Making a disciple is much different than simply converting someone to Christianity. Jesus taught his followers how to live through powerful actions, teaching and showing love above all else.
Being a follower of Christ is about more than just seeing how many names we can add to the heavenly roster – it is about being a real help to the very real needs that people all around us have. Once we do that, people will begin to think that maybe there is something to this Jesus thing after all.
Go make disciples.