How much do you hate your neighbor to not proselytize? How much do you hate your neighbor to not tell them about the saving power of Jesus Christ? How much do you hate your neighbor not to say to them they will go to hell for their sins? Sorry to come out strong out the gate.
Proselytizing (or sometimes called evangelized) refers to a conversion of a non-Christian into being a Christ-follower. For example, at one point, we were non-Christian, and a loving soul evangelized about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and we were converted and saved.
As born-again Christians, are we called to proselytize? What does preaching about the Gospel have to do with loving our neighbors?
How Much Do You Love Your Neighbor?
How important is it to love our neighbor? First, let’s look at the New Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew, when asked what’s the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus replied:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (22:37-39).
Yes, we are called to love all our neighbors, even those who scream and call us every expletive in the book. But, as modern Christians living in a culture that is increasingly hostile to our Christian beliefs, we must ask ourselves, “How much do I hate my neighbor for not telling them about the saving power of Jesus Christ?”
If we follow the greatest commandment in the law as Jesus says, we are to evangelize our non-Christian brothers and sisters into seeking eternal life. This does not mean only in situations where we feel safe and comfortable to preach the Gospel. Oh no, we are called to preach the Gospel at work, at family gatherings, and to even that neighbor who dislikes us. We are diplomats for God’s Kingdom, and Earth is but a temporary placement.
After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciplines ventured out to spread the Gospel into areas not safe for the early Christian. It was so unsafe, most of the disciples died for their proselytizing. Consequently, they were hanged, crucified, beheaded, and stoned to death. Yet, despite knowing the risks, they were willing to die to preach the Gospel to the gentiles.
How many modern Christians are willing to do the same? Sadly, not many.
Would you tell your neighbor to look out??
I watched this thought-provoking video of atheist Penn Jillette of the magician duo Penn & Teller. Penn Jillette had the following crushing words to say about modern Christians who don’t proselytize:
“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
“I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”
This is what proselytizing is about: saving those from their sinful life through sharing the Gospel.
We live in a world where we use pro-alternative lifestyle sayings such as “You do you” or “Let people live their own lives.” However, if we genuinely believe in our hearts the Bible is the word of God and it has authority over our lives, we shouldn’t ascribe to what the secular world is pushing. Instead, what we are seeing is the secular world is pushing life-destroying and not life-saving medicine.
Read: Hated for the Truth
Many of us let our neighbors live their own lives, ignorant of the Gospel and choose to turn a blind eye to their sinful ways. We do so out of tolerance and acceptance (You do you!), but it comes with a spiritual consequence for our neighbor. Choosing passivity is akin to a doctor who knows they have a life-changing treatment that would eradicate cancer from a patient’s body but choose not to treat them. In the medical field, this is called medical malpractice.
Choosing not to evangelize is purely out of selfish intent; it’s hateful and, frankly, spiritual malpractice. Now imagine if the person who was instrumental in our coming to Christ instead chose to act selfishly-as we are doing-and decided not to tell us about Jesus Christ? We would still be dying in our old sinful ways, not knowing that the Christian next to us was sitting on the cure all along. Our refusal to not evangelize is not loving our neighbor as you love yourself. But, unfortunately, this is what many modern Christians, myself included, and many modern progressive churches choose to do every day, all because we would rather be tolerant and inclusive. This is not love. It’s passive hate.
Love is only love when we act godly and save our neighbors from their sin. Otherwise, it’s a lie disguised in sheep’s clothing.
The question is, how much do you hate your neighbor to not proselytize and tell them about an everlasting life in Jesus Christ? Then, the decision is yours: to save a life or walk away.
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.
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