Now, first and foremost, I am not an expert at saving the lost, by any means. In fact, in my process of growth and learning, I've probably scared a few of the "lost" away. But every once in awhile, I stumble across an "evangelism" tool that just misses the mark entirely. And I can't, even for a second, fathom how they arrived at their methods.
Picture this for a moment: Father's Day Sunday. We're headed to my Mom-in-Law's church (while visiting family in Michigan). As we pass another church I notice there are a few people holding signs on the corner. The largest sign, professionally made, bright yellow, reads:
Thank your DAD today for NOT being GAY!
My jaw hit the floor. You are doing it wrong. That isn't helping. Who thought this was a good idea? Stop it...just....
My point now isn't about the homosexuality debate. I don't even want to get into that here. My point is about reaching those who are lost. No matter what side of the issue you choose, this just won't do it! All that does is scream hate! Not the "you don't agree with me" kind of hate but real, legitimate, no-doubt-about-it, HATE. And hate has never won a single person to Christ. Not one.
Now some of you may be asking - why is this hate? It belittles. It criticizes. It is harsh. It is unforgiving. The list goes on. Ephesians 4 lays out how we are supposed to behave - "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Tolerance in love. Diligent in preserving peace.
That sign, those protesters, embodied none of the above. They exuded only hate.
But we are called to love. Because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19). And He loved us while we were still sinners - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Do you think someone needs Jesus? Do you think they are trapped in sin? Are they living a life outside of the will of God?
Love them. Walk alongside them. Cherish them. Pull them in.
Do not: hate, badger, belittle, put down, shame, etc.
God will love them SO much that He won't let them stay where they are.
I'm sorry to those to which that sign was targeted. I'm sorry to those who have been victim to other protests of the like. I'm sorry for some people's misrepresentation of the Gospel.
God is love. He will love you where you are. No matter what. And He loves you so much that He won't let you stay there. Thank goodness for that!