We are called to be ambassadors for Christ, which includes modeling how he expressed truth and compassion. Some people will respond to the evidence we present; others won’t. We still share, we still love, and we still defend. Don’t let potential negative outcomes keep you from sharing the truth with compassion. Be like Jesus.
I’d been preparing my argument for six months, and now it was time to deliver. I was precise, winsome, and articulate. Honestly, my delivery couldn’t have gone better. The conversation went back and forth as I continued to make point after point. My opponent had no ground to stand on, and I had tactically and tactfully shown him just that. To my surprise, he still did not want to change his mind. How could this happen? I had done everything right.
There are times when we are prepared, respectful, and gentle with our apologetic approach, yet it still doesn’t convince or convert. Although the goal of every conversation is to put a stone in someone’s shoe—to leave that person with something to think about—it would be nice if our well-executed arguments were received and believed.
When we face this common problem, it’s comforting to know that Jesus himself encountered the same thing.
In John 5 and 9, there’s a contrast between the two different men Jesus heals. These two men respond to Jesus in opposite ways.
The first man (John 5:1–18) had been sick for thirty-eight years and was completely helpless. He couldn’t move quickly and had no one to help him with his ailments. Jesus asks him, “Do you wish to get well?” The man replies that he doesn’t have anyone to help him into the pool of Bethesda, which he believes has healing powers. Jesus then says, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” The man is miraculously healed and obeys what Jesus said.
This is great. The miracle shows that Jesus is the healer, not the “magical” water. Jesus does the work, not the quickest person into the pool. Jesus expresses compassion and love toward the helpless. He reveals the truth about who God is to this man. You would think Jesus’ method of communicating and evidencing the truth would compel this man to believe in him. Sadly, no.
After being healed, the man is peppered with questions from his fellow Jews.