I totally expected judgement.
In a public-school classroom, where most if not all people in the class supported ideas like same-sex marriage, the transgender ideology, abortion, and all kinds of other corrupt ideas, how could I not expect it? Besides, I had been brushed off plenty of times when I shared anything God-related before. It took probably ten to twenty minutes just to calm my nerves and collect my thoughts.
Our English teacher had assigned a project. We were supposed to make a memoir using six words and an illustration or some other graphic. We were to present it and then explain it. My memoir, “See: The Blind Receive Their Sight”, was based off a verse in Matthew 11. My whole explanation was based on how Jesus had slowly changed me from a self-centered and sinful hypocrite to a flawed, but Christ-seeking person.
Finally, God gave me the peace I needed, and I was called to the front to present it. After some compliments on my drawing of an eye, I plunged in. Had it been all my friends from last year, they would have expected my Bible centered memoir, and my gospel-filled explanation. This year however, I was on a completely different schedule from my friends. Only one or two people had seen my memoir before I presented.
What shocked me was the openness. I suppose I get cynical about our society, always expecting some contemporary wolf pack to tear me to shreds. But after I presented, I got applause, and a few compliments from the class.
After the class had finished, I used someone else’s memoir about longing for something unknown as a segue to Jesus. I discussed with this person how Jesus had filled the hole in my life, and how if I even thought I had the answer to this person’s longing and remained silent, I would be a terrible person.
Again, the openness and even understanding blew me away. Maybe over the summer I forgot that not all non-Christians are complete jerks. Or maybe friends laughing at me had jaded me to the openness of society today. Either way, I’m learning a lesson right now. Our culture has created an atmosphere of acceptance, and rather than be annoyed that others are using it for evil, Christians need to use it for the Gospel.
Society’s acceptance of many religions and open-mindedness reminds me of an ancient civilization, the Mongols.
“Send me 100 men skilled in your religion,” Kublai Khan wrote to the pope about 700 years ago. If they were convincing, he said, “I shall be baptized, and then all my barons and great men, and then their subjects. And so there will be more Christians here than there are in your parts.”
But Pope Gregory X, unable to see the future, only sent two. Neither made it Khan, whose territory at that point stretched over one-fifth of the globe’s inhabited land.” (“Rectifying the ‘Greatest Missed Opportunity in Christian History‘”)
The Mongol empire was one of the greatest empires ever. If the Pope had sent these men, Christianity might still be the major religion in Mongolia, not to mention China, Central Asia, and parts of the Middle East.
Some people have called this Christianity’s greatest missed opportunity.
The warning here is vastly important. Our society is open and searching for answers. If we stay silent and behind our church walls, we are going to miss out on incredible opportunities. This could be a time of evangelism, revival, and change. Yes, not all of society is easily approachable, and those that are might not always respond to the Gospel. That does not excuse our not even trying.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) We are directly disobeying God when we do not evangelize.
I still struggle with this. I have a fair share of failures, and more than enough times where I have been an apathetic coward. I have never been outspoken. I sit in the back of my classes, I only ever talk to a few friends, and sometimes just sit quietly with my headphones in when I’m on the bus or at home. I still have work to do, but I’d rather make a fool of myself than sit quietly while people I care about, and more importantly, whom God cares about, never hear about his love.
2 Timothy 4:1 says, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” Right now, there is a season of opportunity for evangelism. In some countries, there is not, and we can only pray that this season of opportunity will last. When it ends, will the Church look back as we do now on the mistake made in Mongolia 700 years ago, or will we be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”?
I know which one I am praying for.