By Jonathan B. Jones II
If we want to win unbelievers to Christ, we must choose our words wisely. Listen to the words of Paul, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6, ESV).
There are wise ways and unwise ways to conduct yourself as a disciple around unbelievers. You must learn to “pick your battles” and make the most of the opportunities that are presented you to share your faith. Forcing spiritual conversations at unnatural times often prove to be counter-productive. You must look for moments when people you are talking to are receptive to spiritual discussion. Try and find opportunities to naturally bridge your normal conversation into spiritual discussions. “Make the most of the time” that you have with unbelievers.
Don’t be forceful, harsh, or combative in your conversation with outsiders. If you win a religious argument but lose the soul of the person you are talking with, you have lost the battle for the Lord. Let your language be filled with graciousness. Be understanding and patient with them—give them the benefit of the doubt. Try and get in their shoes and look at life from their unique perspective.
The wonderful message of Jesus can become bitter and disgusting to the unbeliever who hears the message in a harsh and bitter tone. The speech we choose must be carefully “seasoned as with salt” to make it as palatable as possible. We must never compromise the message of God’s truth, but we must speak it in a spirit of genuine concern and love (Ephesians 4:15).
You cannot approach all people the same way. Ask God for wisdom and direction to help you know how you should “answer each person.” Every person is different and each individual deserves a tailor-made approach to hearing the gospel that fits his or her situation and personality.
- Jonathan B. Jones II; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com