So I was over at our good friends Stephen and Colleen's house getting my hair cut this morning, when Stephen and I got into a conversation about how certain people and organizations often present the gospel. We both found it fascinating that for many people a certain amount of self-loathing must be present in order to fully embrace the message of the gospel. The thought goes something like this... people need to know they are sinners and the depth of their sin before they can embrace the good news of grace and forgiveness in Jesus. Now while we were not discounting the issue of sin at all, we were wondering about this as a "presentation strategy."
I guess the question is this: To what degree do we need to make sure people "know their sin" before they can embrace the gospel of freedom and wholeness? Do we need to present "bad news" before we can present "good news"? Is this the way Jesus spoke of the Kingdom? [Side note: Isn't it interesting that Jesus never uses hell as a way of motivating people to follow him.]
It seems like the people we know all have at least some kind of sense that their lives are broken and in need of restoration and wholeness. So I guess for them the question is not about helping them realize they are "sinners in need of grace." The issue is to help them see the gospel as invitation - to something better, a life that is more whole and free.
While we were talking, Stephen made this brilliant comment...
Have you ever noticed that Jesus never made feeling bad about yourself a prerequisite for finding him? He just seemed to invite people to something better.
So perhaps a better question for people would be this: Is the life you're living working for you? Is it the best possible way to live?