On Evangelism and Fear

My hands were sweating, and my heart was beating with that heavy, shake-inducing kind of rhythm that I normally only got when looking down from precarious heights. I trembled a tiny bit when handing the woman a small pamphlet about faith. I looked at her, gathered my courage and asked “Would you like to talk with me about Jesus?”

She glanced down at the smiling girl on the front of the pamphlet, and then looked up at me with eyes full of tears, and responded “Yes. Please.” in a soft voice.

 

Have you ever tried to talk to your friends about the Lord, only to find yourself filled with fear and anxiety? “What will they think of me? What if they reject me? What if I say something wrong?” These thoughts can chase each other around your brain until your fear overcomes your desire to share, and you chose not to say anything at all- losing a chance to share the life-changing message of Jesus with a dear one.

 

But why is it so hard for us to share this incredible message? What makes it so challenging to talk about Jesus, the beloved shepherd who gently steps into our sin and muck to guide us to salvation? There are two main reasons we are so afraid: a lack of understanding of the depth of God’s love, and misplaced fear of rejection.   

 

The final verse of the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” says :

 

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 

This incredible hymn speaks with clarity of the awe God’s love for us should inspire in our hearts. In Romans 5:6-11, Paul talks about the sacrifice of Jesus, stating “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (vv 7-8) When we think of God’s incredible love for us- to sacrifice His unique and perfect son for us on the cross, it should culture a feeling in us like Paul felt when he wrote those words. One would barely consider dying for a good person, let alone a weak and wretched sinner. The awe that a love like Christ’s should be bestowed upon humanity- upon me of all people- should incite us to action. It should make us want to tell others! It should banish that fear from our hearts. This is why we need to spend time in prayer and in the Word of God. When we grow to understand more about the depth of God’s love for us- and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross- it creates in us an overwhelming desire to share with the ones we love, and to pour some of that love onto them.

 

The second reason we shrink from sharing the Gospel is a misplaced fear of rejection. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with evangelism, and it left you scared to speak about Jesus. You felt rejected. Ostracized. Embarrassed, even. So what’s the solution here? We must realize that we are merely vessels for the Master’s use. When someone insults the taste of a cup of coffee, what are they really insulting- the coffee itself, or the ability of the one who made it? When someone rejects the Gospel, they aren’t rejecting us- they are rejecting the message of God’s salvation that He has given us to share. When we look at it that way- these are not my words, it’s not my message, it’s His- it becomes easier to share with confidence. After all, we’re simply beggars trying to lead beggars to the sustaining Bread of Life. We can share this gift with them all we want, but it’s not up to us whether or not they choose to accept it.

 

As I shared the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ with that young woman, and watched tears pour down her cheeks as she accepted Jesus as her personal savior, the tenderness and beauty of the moment was not lost on me. I knew that the angels were rejoicing, and peering over the balconies of heaven, and I realized that my fear had dissipated, my hands were no longer shaking, and my heart was fluttering with joy. The gift of salvation that we have to share is so much greater than my fear. It’s so much bigger than my insecurities. The answer to this fear is to press on- to trust God and keep on sharing, because even one life changed makes a lifetime of sharing the Gospel worthwhile. So overcome your fears of evangelizing by choosing to continue to spread His message, and watch and wait for the incredible things God will do with your willingness.

 

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