Take Time To Listen

This past Monday I was riding my bicycle by a convenience store and saw two employees hanging around outside. It looked like the two women were taking a break (though one of them later claimed they were working). Usually when approaching people with the gospel, I prefer doing my "survey technique." But in this case I simply offered the women tracts. Neither of them would take one. So I asked if they knew what the tracts were about. One of them figured it had to do with “church.” It was then the other woman stated, “I have my own beliefs!”

I responded by asking if she knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. This woman claimed she did and so I asked her to say, “Jesus is my Lord.” This is my way of testing if someone really is saved for 1 Corinthians 12:3 says, “…no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

Her response was “I don’t have to say that to anyone!” I tried to politely tell her that Jesus would not confess her before the Father if she won't confess Him before men. This woman cut me off at mid-sentence and I knew it was time to back off. Still I told the women “Jesus loves you” before leaving.

Minutes later as I was eating lunch, I reflected on how I could have handled the situation differently. It was then the thought crossed my mind of asking this woman to share her beliefs with me. That might have encouraged her to open up more and provided me an opportunity to minister to her and her co-worker. It reminds me of an old saying, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

It’s also been said that God gave us two ears and only one mouth because it’s more important to listen than to talk. Sometimes evangelists need to approach people cautiously instead of just blasting them with the gospel. There are individuals who have built up barriers in their hearts because of being mistreated by so-called Christians. In those situations, we would be more effective ministering to them if we take time to listen.

“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” - James 1:19

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