By GF Herrin
It is of utmost importance that when we share the Gospel with people that we not only present the clear message of man’s depravity and hopelessness without saving faith in Christ, but that we also show and live out the love of Jesus so that people can see the difference that His presence has made in our lives.
I was talking to a neighbor who had been laid off from his job whose previous boss was a professed Christian. This boss espoused Christian values and even eventually left the business world to devote himself to full time mission work in a third world country. However, to his employees, he didn’t demonstrate the meekness and kindness expected of a Christian and was even called “mean” by salesmen who called on him.
Similarly, at an Octoberfest in Hickory, NC, over the weekend, a street preacher spoke fervently in a condemning fashion, reasoning that given the state of America’s wickedness (i.e. rampant abortions being the norm and same sex marriage now being legal), “the lovey dovey message of the Gospel hasn’t worked in America.” It may be true that the God is Love message may have supplanted the God is Righteous, Holy, Majestic, Perfect, Omniscient message. However, His grace should always be preached and offered to any person who repents with a contrite heart.
In a world that can be so cold, uncaring, and cruel, it is of paramount importance that we Christians stand out as a different type of people – in a good way. There is a lyric from a Christian song (“We are One in the Spirit, by Peter Scholte), that I learned when I was a boy, that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love”. The apostle Paul wrote, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). A colloquialism I learned when I was a salesman long ago says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know that you care”.
We must demonstrate caring to others and live love out our faith wherever we are in the mission field, even if it is in a business environment or in a worldly occupation. If you are working a job that you may not particularly care for, it doesn’t give you license to complain and be sarcastic no matter what the tasks you have to do. Paul writes, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15).
To control our actions and demonstrate love for others no matter what the circumstances, we must ultimately tame our tongues. This requires wisdom and the careful thought that a mature believer needs to develop. James writes, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).
J. Ronald Blue writes, “To achieve ‘righteousness’, spiritual maturity, practical holiness, – the theme of the book of James – a believer must learn to speak with care. Winsome speech comes from a wise spirit. A controlled tongue is possible only with cultured thought. A mouth filled with praise results from a mind filled with purity.
A believer should stand confidently, serve compassionately, and speak carefully. He should be what God wants him to be, do what God wants him to do, and speak as God wants him to speak.”(p. 829, J. Ronald Blue in John Walvoord and Roy Zuck’s New Testament Bible Knowledge Commentary).