(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)
A very serious question has presented itself to me a number of times recently. It has had me in a state of deep thought as of late. And of course, I must write about it, because it is indeed a matter more than suitable for the blog, ha!
It is the question: How do I not “shove Jesus” down someone’s throat?
Whether you are a Christian or not, I’m sure you have heard, or maybe even used that term before. I have many questions and thoughts when it comes to this specific topic, so let’s tackle it together.
When I hear people accuse Christians of “shoving Jesus” down their throats, I can’t help but wonder if they get equally upset when other things are shoved down their throats? When a magazine arrives in their mailbox each month, do they become incensed that classified ads are being “shoved down throats”?
Are the landscapers who walk neighborhoods for business with little bags containing ads for their services, “shoving gardening down people’s throats”? Or how about food coupons? Is the restaurant guilty of “shoving it’s product down someone’s throat”?
The simple answer is no! Why? Because they understand that ads go to everyone, so if they do not want the ads, they just throw them away. They have the freedom to do whatever they want with the information presented.
You see, people who accuse Christians of “shoving Jesus” down their throats are not really upset with you at all. What these individuals are really upset about is Jesus Christ (John 15:18). They do not want to answer to Him, so they do not want to be reminded that He exists.
I find it quite amusing that Christians are even accused of this, when truth be told, most Christians are so timid when it comes to sharing the Gospel, they are practically incapable of shoving it down anyone’s throat.
Which leads me to my next point… The issue is not shoving. The issue, I think, is that most Christians who ask the question about how to not shove Jesus are really just using it as an excuse not to share the Gospel with a certain individual(s), because they know that the Lord is leading them to do so.
We really have two types of extremes in American Christianity… One that doesn’t share the Gospel and makes a bunch of excuses, and two, those who shove religion (not Jesus) down people’s throats.
Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
A tenet of the Christian faith is that it is evangelistic. That means it is good news and that it is to be proclaimed; not forced. If you are just sharing your “religion” with the mindset that everyone is going to be offended by it and hate it, then I would encourage you to ask yourself if you have genuinely encountered Jesus. After I have experienced His life changing Gospel, how could I not tell them about Him in love?? When people who claim to be Christians are comfortable with a “private faith” that they keep to themselves, they are not following Jesus’ clear command to proclaim the Gospel to everyone everywhere. See 1 John 2:4.
If we are going to be true Christians, we must proclaim Christ.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
Your job is to share Jesus with everyone you encounter, whether you are comfortable doing it or not. If you are serious about this Jesus thing yourself, those you are around will see a difference in what you say and do compared to everyone else they encounter. Make sure they know that difference is because you have been saved from your sin because of what Jesus did on the cross.
I am convinced that a true Christian cannot and will not “shove Jesus down anyone’s throat”. They are practically incapable of doing such a thing! They are the ones who know that the Gospel is a free gift to those who choose to receive it for themselves.
Psalm 34:2 says, “My soul will make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice.”
So, the issue is not “shoving”. The issue is that we are letting the concept of “shoving” get in the way of us sharing the Gospel. When it comes to sharing Jesus, I have found that the people whose hearts are most hardened to the things of God are usually the ones who actually want Him the most.
They do not want “religion” shoved down their throats. They want something radical. Which we know is the Gospel. There is a big difference.
“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” (Madeleine L’Engle)
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= Are you proclaiming the Gospel daily?
= Have you ever used that question as an excuse?
= What are you going to do differently?