I am a very nice guy. There are words I am not yet strong enough to say in certain crowds because I am terrified of losing friends. For example saying “my Jesus” will polarize people. Suddenly they are “for” you or “against” you. I think following Christ is a very cool thing, sometimes making our every day life as sensational as the most heroic movies, but when I say I’m a Christian people instead stick me with a very uncool label.
But, though that name has the power to alienate people, it is the only thing powerful enough to rescue some of them. For that one person in the crowd who is desperately seeking escape from the pain in their life, the name of Jesus could be the long-awaited light in their very dark tunnel. They recognize the power it has, and while others are offended by it, they see it as the only strength great enough to rescue them.
I don’t think every barnyard is the right place to toss out such pearls as Jesus’ name. But there just might be that person struggling in the thick mud who is desperately grasping for something to pull them out. Maybe the key is waiting until hearts will be most ripe to hear it- but beware! We must not wait for a situation that is so perfect that it will never come! We must have the courage to risk losing a fan or friend at the possibility of gaining a brother or sister. Weigh the eternal risk and then act with courage and wisdom. These are the cinematic battlefronts we move in.
The man on the street corner preaching Jesus may have many more enemies than I do but I bet he has gotten many more people thinking about Jesus in one year than I, the nice guy, have in my whole life.
In our personal relationships, like long time work associates, or neighbors, I think the key might be earning the right to use that offensive name of Christ. If they know that you care for them enough to stand up for them when your boss is berating him, or you mow their lawn when they are out of town, they will be more willing to listen. They say, ‘he stood up for me at work, the least I can do is listen to him and give him a fair chance.’