Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Listen with Love

“The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’” (Luke 7:34 NLT).

When I meet someone for the first time, I usually don’t tell them up front that I’m a pastor because they probably will run away in terror if they realize they’re talking to an actual preacher. Instead, I just try to listen to them and be a friend to them.

When the Barna Group asked nonbelievers what they value most when talking about spiritual things, a majority said they want people to listen without judgment. This isn’t easy for some Christians. Some believers want to judge people, condemn people, and even yell at people.

But that isn’t how we’re going to reach them with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

I love the way Jesus conversed with the woman at the well in Samaria. He asked her questions. He listened to her and didn’t come off as a know-it-all. We may know certain things as Christians, but let’s not be know-it-alls.

When you think about it, who on earth was more of a know-it-all than Jesus? He literally knew it all because He was God incarnate. He was omniscient, which means all-knowing.

And sometimes people accuse Christians of being holier-than thou. Yet who was more holy than Jesus? He was the holiest of anyone who ever walked the planet, but He didn’t come off as holier-than-thou. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus was a friend of sinners (see Luke 7:34).

Jesus entered the world of the Samaritan woman. He listened to her. He took time with her, and it resulted in her transformation.

Effective one-on-one evangelism is not a monologue; it’s a dialogue. The goal is not to win the argument; it’s to win the soul. The aim is not to burn the bridge; it is to build a bridge. Let them tell you their story, and listen with love. Then appropriately apply the message of the gospel.

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