Love and Evangelism
Sometimes statements are made that reflect an inaccurate understanding of terminology or concepts. Such can be true spiritually as well. For example, I once read of where someone said, “I’ve always thought the best way to share the love of Christ was to love, not evangelize.” Perhaps in saying this there is a misunderstanding of what the love of God, and evangelism, truly are.
Of course we are to love the Lord our God “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Love, however, is more than just a feeling; the love of God responds to our needs, doing what is in our best interest, no matter the response we may offer. This is what He did in sending Jesus to die for us, knowing so many would reject the offer of life in Him, but that there would be those who would respond. More than just having feelings for us, God did the right thing, doing what was needed, even if others would reject His offer of life in Christ. He wants “everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).
Feelings can be good, but they also can be misdirected, if not shaped by the will of God. To share the love of Christ is more than just to feel empathy, or have a warm connection towards others. Greater than this is putting oneself at risk to be rejected by others, that they may know what it is God offers them. Sin hardens the heart (Heb. 3:13), possibly causing even the greatest act of caring to be hated. True love, genuinely caring about others, will do what is needed even if this happens. This is what evangelism is all about, presenting the love of Christ in the message of the gospel, so souls can be saved from the condemnation of hell to eternal life. How much do you really love or care about another, if you know they are lost, and don’t share the message that will give them life?
If you saw someone about to drink a deadly poison, wouldn’t you slap the drink out of that person’s hand to keep them from dying from it? Would you refrain from doing so simply because such an act might offend them? Isn’t real love more than just feeling for them, but responding to the need, no matter how it’s interpreted by them? So it is with showing the love of Christ. It’s the greatest tragedy to allow others believe they’re okay with God when they’re not. That isn’t the politically correct response, but it is the response of love, that their souls can be saved. Perhaps we need to sing more often the hymn, You Never Mentioned Him to Me. “You never mentioned Him to me, You helped me not the way to see; You met me day by day and knew I was astray, Yet never mentioned Him to me.”
There is a standard of right and wrong, a way that leads to death, and one that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14). We cannot choose to live in sin and think we will be saved. Not every choice a person makes will lead to heaven. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (2 Tim. 6:3-4a).
To teach others the truth of salvation IS the love of Christ, and too little of it happens anymore. May we better understand what the Bible teaches about the love of Christ, about why we should let others know what to do to be saved, and what’s at stake, whether in obedience or rejection. Share the gospel with those you love, before it’s too late. It’s the greatest act of love you can offer.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”