Top 10 Evangelism Mistakes, Number Five
Developing Relationships With Unbelievers to Convert Them
Wait a minute! Isn’t the goal of Jesus followers to convert people? It is often quite easy for Jesus followers to isolate themselves from unbelievers unless there is a twinkling of a hope that they will be converted. But the Great Commission is not an ulterior motive; it is a charge to go to others regardless of the outcome.
In the short time Jesus was on the earth, he came into contact with many people. Sometimes he never identified himself. Other times Jesus left people with food for thought. On one such occasion, Jesus was invited to have dinner with Simon, a Pharisee. A “sinful” woman began washing his feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair, and applying perfume to them. Jesus forgave her sins, then told her to “go in peace” (Luke 7:50).
We are not told what happened to the woman after she encountered Jesus. Her life could have been transformed, but it is entirely possible that she went back to her old lifestyle. The point is that Jesus did not encounter people with the express purpose of converting them. He loved them, he accepted them, and he met their needs.
We are called to develop relationships with unbelievers regardless of their potential response to the gospel. Sometimes these relationships lead people to Jesus; other times our relationships fail to have any spiritual impact at all. In a sense, going to others and developing relationships with them is risky, because we do not have any control over the outcome. Our goal should be to follow the example of Jesus by loving others, accepting them, and meeting their needs. He will take care of the rest.
Do you trust Jesus enough to let him take control of your relationships?