Is it possible to hurt someone by not helping them enough?
To possess saving faith it is essential to know what Jesus has accomplished through his life, death and resurrection on behalf of sinners. It is important to be aware of Christ’s physical, spiritual and mental anguish he endured during his beatings, insults and crucifixion. It is good to see his love and the love of believers.
However, knowing about God and knowing God are and can be eternally different. Knowing what Jesus did and embracing Him must go together. Embracing a teaching is not enough. It can not merely be some news that makes us aware and even moves us emotionally. Seeing clearly that we are sinners and knowing that Jesus makes the only way to be forgiven does not equal faith and repentance although it is part of it. In other words we must have a basic grasp of the gospel…
“Mere mental consciousness is a vain, empty thing; it does not fulfill God’s will in us. In deed, it eventually becomes a condemnatory knowledge of our own eternal destruction.” Martin Luther on Colossians 1:9-14
Evangelism is not just about sharing the awesome and powerful news of Christ and encouraging people to repent and believe. We must also help strangers, loved ones and friends contemplate the implications of the gospel and the call of God. What does it mean to believe? What does it mean to repent? Repent from what to turn to what…or whom? We must be patient and thorough for their sake, that they would know the good-news unto salvation, not into deadly religion and misplaced assurance.
If we love them, we will help them to see the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. We must help them to see the difference between changing their religious views again and being born again. We must help them to count the costs of loving Jesus. We will help them to see that we embrace Christ for salvation not events, religious systems, friends, parents, group inclusion, alters or aisles.
With that said, God is more committed to his glory and bringing his sheep into his fold than we are. The Holy Spirit works through the basic message of the gospel to break even the darkest hearts. God is not wondering how it will all work out, he is not only good but he is sovereign. This is not where I am trying to breakdown the difference and unity of God choosing and us choosing, but to remind and be reminded of the need to help others see clearly who and what they are choosing. They are choosing a Person not just heaven, they are choosing a master not just a wise teacher, they are choosing to die and no longer live for themselves.
So yes, it is possible to hurt someone by not helping them enough. If you consider not helping someone see the implications of the call of God through the gospel.
May it never be that we disregard the need to help someone examine their motives, beliefs and treasures in the name of evangelism.
How are we helping others to see that “God is the gospel”?
Praise the Lord that he is gracious with us…fragile jars of clay.