The Direct and Compassionate Approach
Tired. That is a word that expresses the feeling I had at the end of my time at the campaign in Sierra Vista. Campaigns such as this involve long days that are physically and at times emotionally demanding. Someone once reminded me that it is good to be tired in working for the Lord, not tired of working for the Lord. But tired is not the only feeling I had. Some other words to express what I felt include things such as joy, pleased, and satisfied.
Sharing the Gospel with people is frontline work in our spiritual battle. When you participate in frontline ministry, understanding that this is central to our purpose, then of course there will be a sense of satisfaction in knowing you have been fulfilling your purpose for the commander. Seeing the big picture in this kind of ministry, understanding the significance of it, and recognizing how close it is to the heart of God motivates Christians to engage in it, either directly or in a support role of some sort.
There is a myth that has been floating around that says direct confrontation with the Gospel drives people away. According to this myth, Christians are driving people away and need to mellow out. The theory is that if we just live good Christian lives, people will naturally be drawn to become Christians simply by our good examples.
In my experience, the exact opposite is true. With a very, very small exception, Christians are not driving people away by a direct approach. In fact, many do not approach people at all. The exact opposite is true. People are not coming to Christ not because Christians are too direct in their approach, but because they do not approach people at all. In my experience, when you approach people in a compassionate yet direct manner with Jesus and the Gospel, people respond.
I saw an example of this just last week. Christians approached an older woman with the Gospel and when it came time for her to respond, she said she really was not interested in responding. However, she was very sweet and appeared to be interested. Those Christians went back to see her the following day because they were genuinely concerned for her. They wanted to talk more about why she was not interested. They were direct, but not offensive. They did not beat around the bush and spoke with compassion.
After some more conversation, the lady told them, "I know you love me because of your persistence." She went on to tell them that she could tell they were genuine people with a genuine message. As a result, she obeyed the Gospel that afternoon and became a sister in Christ!
There are countless other stories of this nature. Speaking the truth of the Gospel with love and compassion reflects the character of God. Those who are seeking and open to God recognize this and will respond with faith and obedience.
Remember this the next time you hesitate to be direct about talking to someone about the Gospel and their salvation.