The great commission tells us to go and make disciples. For years the best practice of evangelism and disciples making was thought to be, simply share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sharing the Gospel is an important part of evangelism, indeed it is central to evangelism, however; we must go beyond just telling people about Jesus Christ, we must show them Christ in us. We must be willing to SHOW AND TELL. I have some friends who are atheists. Yes, it is true the pastor has friends that are nonbelievers. These friends are not the angry Richard Dawkins type atheists, but they’re very contemplative. One of the main arguments given by one of my friends is that Christians often talk about the love, mercy, and grace of a loving savior, but when he looks at the church he does not see love, mercy, or grace. He is not disrespectful or argumentative in this statement. He is making an honest assessment of what he sees. Off Corse, his assessment is colored by his belief system, but it is not completely inaccurate. For the most part, I think that the majority of congregations try to be loving, sometimes we fail. When we fail we have to have the humility to ask forgiveness and try again. The main point that my friend is trying to make is that a lot o Christians tell him about Christ, but they don’t show him, Christ. I must admit that this was a convicting statement for me because my friend was saying this. It made me ask the question what more could I do to show Christ to others. This is a question that all Christians should ask.
Christians must show the world, Jesus. People need to see us trying to practice what we preach. We are not going to be perfect, we are not called to be perfect. People will be more willing to give grace if they see that we give grace. We must also understand that SHOW And TELL is also about relationship building. The longer we are in a relationship with people and the more they get to see us living the life that God has called us to live, the more they will be willing to listen to us when we tell. And the more open they will be to listening to us on those occasions when our actions may not match our words.
Growing up my grandfather had his favorite chair in the living room of our home. Many times he and I would sit in that room and talk. One of the unfortunate vices that my grandfather hand was that he enjoyed smoking cigars. One day as he was smoking his cigar, he looked at his cigar and then he looked at me and said, “you know these are bad for you don’t ever do this”. This was the classic example of do as I say not as I do. My grandfather was telling me not to do something that he was doing because he knew that doing the thing that he was doing would be harmful to me. I listened to what my grandfather said and to this day I am a non-smoker. The reason that what my grandfather said worked, even though he wasn’t doing it was that I had a great deal of respect for my grandfather. We had a relationship that spanned a long time, and I knew I could trust him. The world that we live in today will not accept do as I say not as I do. But as we build a relationship with people they are more likely to be willing to listen to us, even in those times when we appeared to be giving advice that is contrary to our actions. It all comes down to living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God and building relationships that allow people to see that we truly try to live life the way God would have us to live. If we show people Christ, they will be more open to hearing what we have to say when we tell them about Christ.