The compassionate and gracious God
When God The Father, Yahweh, described Himself as, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6). How many of us Christians genuinely believe that in our heart of hearts?
I ask this question not out of condescension but out of genuine curiosity. Often times, the church and Christians are quick to judge those who are in the world. It is not our place to judge unbelievers. Instead, we are to show them a better way by being the salt of the earth. We are to live our lives as the embodiment of Jesus’ teachings, as evidenced in our lives through our good works including benevolence, mercy and forgiveness.
We ought not to display judgement and condemnation of the secular world. How will people know of God and the extraordinary grace of God if we use judgement, condemnation and guilt as a means to try to draw them to God? God did not win our hearts through such means. He did it through love and love alone. Yet, we sometimes think that by using guilt, judgement and condemnation, we will win souls for the Kingdom of God.
God does not manipulate people using guilt and condemnation, He presents the truth and gives us a choice. And He allows us the opportunity to exercise our free will. He honours and respects our decisions, even when we make the wrong choices.
Friends, when you evangelise and share the truth of God’s Word, do it out of love, with love and through love. The power of love cannot be underestimated. We know first hand because many of us were wretched and undeserving of God’s extraordinary grace. Yet, we continue to enjoy it every day. Do not rob others of the grace of God. We must express the compassionate nature of God, highlighting His remarkable ability to forgive. Let us not forget His kindness to heal the broken and His generosity in lavishing blessings and favour upon those He calls His children.
An evangelist does not judge nor condemn. Instead, an evangelist is a light-bearer and a forerunner of the good news of Jesus and the extraordinary grace of God.
Regarding the issue of sin and hell - John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:2). He shared the simple truth of God’s Word and pointed people to Jesus Christ, The Messiah (The Saviour); “I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12).
John led his message with God’s wonderful gift, The Holy Spirit. Then he addressed the fact that those who reject Jesus will be separated from God and will face a damning end. As evangelists, we are sometimes tempted to lead with the message of ‘hellfire’ because of the shock and fear factor associated with such a frightening end. However, God wants His people and all those who come to Him to know Him intimately and to know His heart towards us. Tell people the truth in a balanced way. Always lead with love.
Jesus demonstrated compassion to a woman who was about to get stoned for the sin of adultery. A mob of self-righteous men, who were also teachers of the law and priests, wanted to administer the full force of the law up the woman. Jesus said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7). When none of them condemned her, “...Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11).
This is a heartfelt account of Jesus’ mercy, compassion, forgiveness and love. May we too show one another, and unbelievers similar grace and share the good news of Jesus out of love, and because of love. In so doing, God will bless you and those who hear your message.