How much do you have to hate someone?

Divine moments are one of my favorite things. I love seeing God’s sovereign hand in the mundane parts of my life. I’m learning to live for the epiphanic moments when God reveals how He’s using me to impact someone’s life. And I’m just referring to the ones I’m aware of—Who knows how many of these moments I’ve missed because of distractions or lack of attention to others. 

How many times have I neglected to pray for someone because of something happening on the screen in front of my face? I’ve probably missed countless opportunities to share my testimony with someone who truly needed to hear something encouraging. As Christians, we should always be seeking someone to interact with and share the Gospel of Christ. 

Because we live in a fallen world, we are all born into narcissism. It’s the way we are naturally wired. We are lovers of self (2 Timothy 3:2), and our self-centeredness reveals itself in the way we treat and interact with others. It’s only when Christ regenerates us and reveals this sin do we repent and become truly compassionate to others. 

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

As Christians, we are to be a light to the world. We are to seek out and engage others. We were never called to simply live privately. We are called to proclaim His name. I don’t believe there are any exceptions to the great commission. 

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

I find that if I get up in the morning to pray, and if I intentionally ask God to use me that day to share the Gospel with someone, He is gracious enough to grant that request. This can be a scary and intimidating prayer for an immoderate introvert like myself, because it requires me to travel well outside of the near Fort Knox-like walls that surround my comfort zone. But when I engage with someone who He sovereignly places in my path to talk to, the payoff is infinitely better than retreating back to my fort. 

The more you practice this, the more you will be emboldened to share the Gospel. There is such a unique joy in being obedient to the Father; a joy that isn’t found anywhere else. Pray for God to use you today and watch Him work. 

This doesn’t mean you have to be prepared to recite a Jonathan Owens’ sermon to a complete stranger. It means start conversations with people. Most people, just beneath the surface, are dying for someone to reach out to them. Be that person. Show them Jesus. Ask a stranger how you can pray for them. Ask them how their day is going and if there’s anything you can do for them. You’ll be surprised how God opens doors in the conversation to point them to Christ.

A quote from self-proclaimed atheist, Penn Jillette, has lingered in my mind for years: “How Much Do You Have to Hate Somebody to Not Proselytize?” That resonates. How much DO we have to hate someone not to tell them about Christ? It’s like watching someone walking towards the edge of a cliff, and not telling them because you’re uncomfortable talking about it.

Pray for a self-sacrificing love of people from the Spirit. After all, that’s the reason we are sojourning. 

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