It Is Hard to Share Our Faith

Yesterday I had another great conversation with a friend from school. My friend is not a follower of Jesus, but she is interested and curious enough to listen and have a conversation about God.

We became friends last fall, and since then, we have had several fruitful and enjoyable conversations about Jesus, life, faith, relationships, and the like.

It is always a joy for me to connect with others and hear their stories, passions and dreams. I find this fulfilling and energizing, especially when Jesus is the center of it all. I could spend hours and hours talking about Jesus, without realizing (and noticing) that time is passing by. (I mean, come on, time flies when you are having fun, right?).

Every morning (well, at least when I remember), I always like to pray for God to give me an opportunity to talk, pray, encourage, teach, disciple, motivate, and love others.

To this day, God has been faithful in answering that prayer. It always amazes me to see how God works in and through my life, for His glory and for the good of others.

As I was sitting in my car, writing and thanking God for a wonderful day at school, I asked myself the following question: Does my friend, Jessie (not her real name), know me more for what I am against rather than what I am for? It was something to think about.

What about you? Do others know you mostly for what you are against or for what you are for? When others hear your name, what do they think of? What do they say?

It is so tragic to hear that there is a lot of Christians who are known mostly for what they are against, and not for what they are for. This is a big turn off for the unbeliever and the skeptic.

There are so many people out there—neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family members—who are eager to hear more about Jesus, but because we are too busy proclaiming what we are against, they tend to walk away without having the opportunity to hear about the gospel.

This is due primarily because of the barriers that we sometimes create due to our lack of communication, patience, and if we are honest, love. Such walls prevent us from having gospel-centered conversations and fruitful dialogue, which is essential for building long-lasting, and intentional relationships.

As believers, we know God’s eternal and unchanging truth, and we are responsible to communicate it; but, we must communicate it in a loving and kindly way, not by forcing or imposing it on others against their will. We must imitate our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and be humble about it.

Speaking the truth and sharing the gospel with others is not easy. If I told you otherwise, I would be lying. There are times when my friend and I have our disagreements and points of tension.

Sometimes she does not accept or agree with what I say, but at the end, we walk away thanking each other for the chance to talk and converse and build a stronger friendship.

Next time we pray, let’s ask God to give us more opportunities to share the gospel. I believe there will be a time to unapologetically speak God’s truth, and there will also be a time to show others what we are for rather than what we are against.

Now, let me be clear. The problem is not speaking the truth, but when and how we go about it. We must be careful and wise enough to know when to speak and when to listen.

As believers, we are called to preach the gospel, both in word and in deed, just like Jesus did. Each opportunity is unique and there is not a “one size fits all” method of sharing the gospel.

How we go about sharing the gospel will vary depending on the situation we are involved in, and the people we are ministering to.

The message—the gospel of Jesus Christ—does not change, but our communication methods must adapt and adjust according to the need of the moment.

Sometimes, we are called to defend the truth against atheism, and at other times, we are called to preach the gospel by showing love and compassion. Both are necessary and important when it comes to reaching out to others.

It will take wisdom to know what to do in a given situation. When an opportunity arises, and God puts someone in your path, take full advantage of it and tell him or her all about Jesus and His unconditional, life-transforming love.

You can do it! I believe in you, and so does God!

Do you have any similar examples or stories about sharing the gospel with others? If so (and I know you do), please write a comment and share it with me below. I would love to hear all about it.

For His glory,

Jonnathan Menendez

Forgiveness

Forgiveness. What a hard thing to live out! The truth is we should forgive others, no matter who they are or what they have done. That is challenging. How can we forgive others when they use, abuse, disrespect, or mistreat us? You may be asking, “How can I forgive someone, when he or she hurts me emotionally and/or physically?”

If we are honest, forgiving others is a hard, and sometimes impossible, thing to do, especially in our own strength. I know that this will not be surprising at all, but here it goes. Are you ready? We all make mistakes! Yes, all of us. As in, every individual in the world. In other words, no one is perfect. We all mess up or blow it, one way or another.

But guess what? This is inevitable! You and I will continue to make mistakes in life because we are sinners and we live in a fallen world. That is just plain ol’ reality! I think that recognizing this and admitting our own sin is the very first step in growing and learning to forgive others.

So, since we live in a fallen and sinful world, where there is the possibility to get hurt by others, and others getting hurt by us (whether it is intentionally or unintentionally), the real question, I think, we should be asking is: how will we respond when others make mistakes or treat us in a negative way?

You and I can respond the usual (and common) way—by treating others harshly, acting out in revenge, calling them out, etc. But what good will that do? Absolutely nothing! It will just start a never-ending cycle of arguments and debates, mutual confrontation, and exchange of inappropriate, and sometimes, demeaning terms. Who wants to get caught up in that mess? Not me!

In such a case, no one wins! But there is hope because of Jesus! You and I can start living differently and make a difference, by treating others the way we would want them to treat us. This is called “The Golden Rule” for a reason—because it works!

Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12, NIV).

Do you want to be treated well? Do you want to be treated with respect, honor and dignity? (I hope you answer those questions with a big and loud, YES!) Well, do the same to others, but take the initiative and do it first. Do not wait for others to change. You and I are called to a new life in Christ first, and then we are called to live that new life with others.

To sum it up, forgiveness is hard and challenging but not impossible. God can (and will) give us the strength, courage and humility to love others and forgive them for their sin against us. If you are in Christ, you have been forgiven of your sins. Yes, that is right! You have been forgiven of your sins because of what Jesus has done on the cross. That my friend, is called grace!

If you and I have tasted the unconditional love of God, and have been forgiven much, doesn’t it make sense to do the same to others—to love and forgive them for their sin, no matter who they are or what they have done? (Yes, I just repeated what I said at the beginning, so what?).

The Apostle Paul stated, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13).

If we practice forgiveness, others will be dramatically impacted by our testimony and willingness to do such a thing. They will come to the realization that our ability to forgive is initiated by God, inspired by the Spirit, and fueled by the love of Jesus. And for that we praise and worship the King!

For His glory,

Jonnathan Menendez

**P.S. Feel free to leave a comment or prayer request below.**

Leadership is Essential

Leadership is important. Why? As John C. Maxwell well puts it, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” I agree. As a leader myself, I am beginning to realize that the success (or failure) of an organization or ministry falls on its leadership.

Leaders are important not because of the positions they hold, or the talent they have, but because of the impact, whether positive or negative, they will have on their followers and the organizations and ministries they represent and work for.

Leaders are called to serve others and not their own personal, selfish agenda. Leaders are called to…well lead, and leading will require great responsibility and effort and, at times, great sacrifice. A leader must be willing to pay the price in order to be effective in whatever he or she does.

Leaders are called to a higher standard of living for they will give an account to God for what they do (or don’t do). It is vital for a leader to live a life of integrity, service, honesty and humility.

The stakes are high and many are watching. People are counting on leaders to display a life worth imitating and following. The responsibility could not be bigger but the potential for long-lasting impact and positive change is endless.

Leaders: pray and strive to serve God and others with a humble and sincere heart.

For His glory,

Jonnathan Menendez