When I first became a believer I heard a healthy dose of pleas for doing evangelism and missions. Often they came in the form of a skit of some sort that would show the hopeless chap that has not heard the gospel. At the end the speaker would say, “If only someone would take the gospel to them.”
I assumed that most people were not believers simply because they had never heard the gospel. Now don’t hear me wrongly. Those presentations are helpful. Lost people do need to have the gospel proclaimed to them. In fact that is the way that they will come to know Christ. We must take the gospel to lost people. That part is true. What those skits often failed to mention, though, is that a good number of people are not just waiting to hear the good news of Jesus.
Responding in Darkness
When you spend a few minutes in a really dark room your eyes adjust and you get accustomed to the darkness. When some joker throws on the lights…especially after a night of joyous sleep…your first instinct is to kick and scream. You want to tackle the guy that turned on the light. Darkness doesn’t appreciate a light switch being thrown on.
This is what Jesus said in John 3:19,
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
The natural response of darkened and depraved hearts is to kick and scream against the gospel. We do not like it’s exposure. We do not agree with its criticism of us. Nor do we agree with it’s entirely selfless solution. Therefore, we naturally want to kick the dude in the groin who throws on the lights.
This is why we should not be surprised that gospel advancement comes through suffering. People in darkness do not want you to turn the light on. No matter how much that darkness is destroying their humanity. Yet, being in the light is the one thing that they need in order to wake up and to actually enjoy eternal life.
There are times when God says “let there be light” into a darkened heart. Only then are the scales removed. Only then is the light treasured. When that takes place their posture towards the messenger is changed. What might have started as a lunge toward us is transformed into the loving embrace of a brother or sister.
As the light of the world we are called to be faithful no matter the response. Whether we are met with a kick to the groin or a loving embrace it is our duty to flip on the switch. That’s hard. But it’s the most loving thing to do to awaken sleeping sinners.