The woman knocked five or six times before she gave up and left a tract in the door. Until she was out of sight, our dog barked (unusual for her) like she was terrified.
“Our visitor came to proclaim the gospel while our dog sounds like she’s encountered a demon” was all I could think.
That’s my skewed vision of in-your-face proclamation, but that’s because I’ve never known it to turn out well.
Like the time I told our neighbor’s girlfriend I’d pray for her when she was struggling through a difficult pregnancy. In spite of the fact that I didn’t follow through, the following week she thanked me after getting a good report from her doctor. I said, “That’s the power of prayer for you.” The next day, she miscarried.
Another time, my aunt turned down my invitation in front of the family when I invited her to church. I said, “Don’t blame me if the result of that decision isn’t a good one.” A close family member commended me for being bold in my faith, which was exactly why I spoke up – to impress him. It’s been at least a decade and I still cringe when I think about how I spoke to my aunt.
Then there was the summer of walking the beach alongside Campus Crusade for Christ members who witnessed to addicts and prostitutes. When our youth group got the hang of it, we were sent out in pairs to do the same. I’m sure our youth director had good intentions, but he had no business encouraging teenaged girls to wander up to strangers, however, I did it because I wanted to impress him in the same way I wanted to impress my family.
Although I’m sure God can use these circumstances and he may have, it seems our egos cause him extra work.
I’d like to say I’m not knocking “proclaiming the gospel,” especially since it’s in the Bible, but I sort of am if we’re talking about clubbing innocent bystanders over the head with what we decide they need to hear. I can’t recall a single time this strategy worked, whether I’ve been the one clubbing or the one being clubbed. I have, however, been transformed by people’s actions, which I happen to think is the harder “proclamation” because doing is harder than talking.
What does “proclaiming the gospel” mean to you? When is it most effective?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Dear God, I’m not questioning what you’ve told us to do. I’m questioning how we’ve interpreted it and how we carry it out. Help us know your way.