4 Ways Christians Discourage Non-Believers from Accepting Jesus
This command by Jesus to share the gospel and make disciples is one that should be a cornerstone of every Christian’s faith. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says,
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Thus, encouraging non-believers to accept Christ and teaching them God’s Word isn’t just a good idea, it is what God requires of all of us. In other words, your local pastor isn’t the only one responsible for spreading the Good News! Whether you are a school teacher, artist, CEO, the stay-at-home-mom, a doctor, or a student, if you have accepted Christ, you should seek every opportunity to share God’s Word with anyone willing to listen. As it is said in Romans 10:14,
“How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?”
We are all responsible to share, teach, and carry the message of salvation. Otherwise, we cannot be certain that those we encounter have ever heard of the God who saves. In our modern world, with social media, podcasting, and more ways than ever to connect, there is no reason we can’t do so!
Unfortunately, this greater access to the world around us has also exposed many weaknesses in the Christian community. More than ever, people are not accepting Jesus or turning away from the faith. In fact, it has been found that only 65% of Americans consider themselves religious in any capacity. This is down 12 points in the last decade alone. With this rapid decline compacted with the long-lasting results of COVID-19 for local churches, we can expect that if Christians are adamant about seeing a change, this trend will continue in years to come. I believe there are some key areas those who profess Jesus must become aware of and seek to reconcile if we want to truly fulfill the Great Commission.
With this said, here are four ways Christians are deterring non-believers from accepting Christ:
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1. Cyber Christian Bullying
A quick scroll of your favorite social media app will probably reveal posts where Christians have become a private club or gang. Within the comments section, instead of people using the Bible to uplift and encourage, the Word is used as a dagger to inflict as much pain as possible. In fact, one post can solicit hundreds of responses that are filled with hatred and “sending people to hell.”
Although it can be tempting to use social media as our personal pulpit to bring conviction and call out the sins of the world, we must remember that tone can easily be misinterpreted. In the same way, we have no idea who will encounter what is on the other side of the screen and how this will impact how others view the Bible. When in doubt of how to respond, it is best to not comment, pray, and (if necessary) reach out to the person privately.
“Do not allow what you consider good, then, to be spoken of as evil.” (Romans 4:16)
2. Lack of Compassion
Whether we want to admit it or not, non-believers are paying attention to how the Church responds to everyday issues. From racial issues to helping those in need within the community, local churches are seen as the “first responders” in crisis. We find that even those who don’t believe in Jesus are the first to ask, “Where was the Church?” Yet, more and more it seems that church outreaches have become nothing more than a “hook” to get people into the church versus a genuine concern for those in need.
This lack of authenticity is often called out and seen by non-believers. They see the church hand-outs as simply a way to “show face” for the public. Compassion shouldn’t turn into a seasonal event but one that is lived out through believers at all times. From helping to pay for a stranger’s groceries to making a meal for a new mother, being people of action (even when no one is looking) is a vital part of living out our faith! When we operate out of true godly love and compassion, people will be compelled to want to know the God we serve.
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matthew 25: 44-45)
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3. Hypocritical Christians
One easy way to deter a person from Christ is to live a life of hypocrisy. If we claim to know God, yet operate out of our flesh in most scenarios, this should be a concern for us. Galatians 5:13-26 gives a clear picture of what walking by the Spirit and walking by the flesh looks like.
We are always called to walk by the Spirit’s leading. When we fail to do so, we will “act holy” on Sundays but have little concern for our Christian walk on the other days. Christians who are set apart and walk in God’s love can naturally draw non-believers into the faith. Instead, non-believers often see a mirror image of themselves when they see Christians. If we speak vulgarly, accept immoral ideas, or treat people poorly, how can we expect people to want the God we claim to serve?
When Christians choose to live a life that picks and chooses what parts of the Word are applicable to them, we tell the world around us that we don’t take the Word seriously. Thus, even if we pique someone’s interest in Christ, we may do more damage when they start to imitate a version of Christianity that does not reflect God’s truth. If we want to be effective witnesses, we must ask the Lord to show us anything that does not align with His Word and make active steps to change it.
“I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:17)
2. Division in the Church
Within America alone, there are believed to be over 200 denominations of Christianity. These denominations vary over things such as disagreements over the use of instruments in the church, how women should dress, the style of preaching, what a person has to do to be saved, and more. With so many different beliefs and values within a local church, it can be very confusing to the non-believer to know what exactly Christians stand for and against. Instead of being a united front against the enemy and winning souls, within the Christian community there are debates, back-biting, and even dissociation amongst some denominations.
Racial divides, political differences, and even the response to COVID-19, only highlight the underlying disunity within the body of Christ. In doing so, Christianity becomes a house divided. Even more so, churches are no longer centered around God, they are focused on our human interpretations of specific passages. This is the opposite of how God would desire us to function as the Body of Christ. Instead, Christians (regardless of their denomination) should come together with one purpose, fulfilling the Great Commission.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Overall, as Christians, it is our primary responsibility to be ambassadors for Christ. How we speak, how we interact with each other, and how we live our lives are living testimonies for God’s goodness. May we seek to share His Word with anyone willing to listen, and pray that the Lord reveal anything that may be hindering our ability to share the gospel.
“Our faith becomes stronger as we express it; a growing faith is a sharing faith.” — Billy Graham
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