I love the questions people are asking as they wake up to the reality of living in the life of Jesus. This one came today from Mississippi and in the limited space email offers, I tried to give her a bit of an answer:
Not stupid at all… Religion finds no end to the ways of manipulating people to do good or even to convert. As God wakes us up to his reality we can admit that most of what evangelism has meant is exploiting and manipulating our neighbors and friends, rather than demonstrating to them the reality of who God is by the way we live our lives. I’m blessed God is doing that work in you.
Scripture makes clear that it is the Spirit who convicts the world (John 16) and that it is our task to love them freely (John 13:34-35) and not manipulate them by persuasive words (I Cor 2) nor shameful tactics (2 Cor 4). Rather by living in his reality and openly talking about it as others ask us about our lives we ‘set forth the truth plainly (and in doing so) commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4:1-4)
As we live in his reality, we’ll have no end of opportunities to give an account for the hope that lies within us. And then we can truly express our love and concern for people and not just manipulate them to respond the way we think they should.
It makes sharing this kingdom a task of exquisite joy, not a heavy obligation.