I recently had the opportunity to minister to a young couple in a tough spot. We sat down in a restaurant, and I bought them a hamburger. We talked about the sequence of events that led them to their current predicament.
As our conversation progressed, I asked if I could share the gospel with them. I did so as simply and clearly as I knew how. I spoke of sin, and our need for a savior. I spoke of Jesus, and our need to turn to Him in repentance and faith. However, when I was done I said something I now wish I could take back...
"I'm sorry if it seems like I'm preaching at you."
Why did I say that? In some small way, I suppose I was embarrassed of the gospel I had just shared. I felt a need to apologize for it, as though it was something to be ashamed of. I thought they might be offended or angry. But the young lady's response actually caused me to feel ashamed...
"It's okay. It kinda comforts me."
Wow, you could have knocked me over. I wasn't expecting that. Now, I suppose some would say the gospel should make a lost person uncomfortable. And there's probably some validity to that. But remember, this young lady was in a difficult place. She was hurting. This young lady, at this particular point and time, needed to feel the love of God. And through the sharing of the gospel, the Holy Spirit comforted her. In her heart, she knew I was speaking truth. And this brought her a measure of peace.
After praying with this couple, and leaving them some grocery money, I started home. As I drove and reflected on our meeting, I was reminded of someone (I don't remember who) that said the real reason we don't share the gospel is not fear, or lack of knowledge, but because we don't truly believe in its power. I realized this described me.
You see, I shared the gospel out of obedience and concern. But I didn't really believe in my heart of hearts in the gospel's power - in its ability to impact the hearer. If I did believe in the gospel's power, I wouldn't have apologized for sharing. If I did believe in the Gospel's power, I wouldn't have been so surprised when she said it brought her comfort.
Paul says in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation..."
Do we really believe this? God, help my unbelief. Help me not to be ashamed of the gospel. Help me to believe in the gospel's power.