Have you ever hesitated to present the Gospel because you were afraid you might offend someone? If so, or if you know someone who has, this testimony from Jennifer Ramey of Boone, North Carolina, will help erase your fears.
I have always had a burden for the unsaved. However, after losing a dear friend and not knowing her spiritual condition, I became especially burdened for my family and friends. Up until the fall of 1997, I knew the Gospel, but I was not very sure how to present it clearly to anyone. My husband and I went through an evangelism class in Gainesville, Florida, in 1998. I was ecstatic to finally have a way of telling others about Christ in a non-invasive and friendly way. I was so excited that I wanted to practice on my family, in particular my stepfather's family, because I was not sure of their spiritual condition. Every time I would mention to my mom that I wanted to call them or pay them a visit during summer or at Christmas, she would always say, "Honey, don't, because you never know how they will take it. You may offend them, so please don't." Being the obedient daughter that I am, I never approached the subject with either my stepgrandmother or stepgrandfather.
The burden for them became even greater when my stepgrandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001. Yet, I was still afraid of offending them or upsetting them if I attempted to present the Gospel. My stepgrandfather passed away in February 2003, and I have no comfort because I do not know his spiritual condition. Even then I still was afraid of offending my stepgrandmother.
Dr. Bobby Welch spoke at our church, Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, North Carolina, where Allan Blume is pastor. Dr. Welch's message reaffirmed to me that there is no room for fear in witnessing to people. My husband's and my burden for my stepgrandmother greatly increased. In fact, before the sermon was even finished, my husband leaned over and said, "We need to call Mamaw tonight and talk to her about Jesus." Again, my thoughts started with "I just don't want to offend her," but this time my heart countered with, "But her soul is so much more important, and I do not want to be responsible for her going to hell because I didn't want to 'offend' her."
Before calling her the next night, my husband and I talked and prayed together. In fact, his last words to me as I was dialing her number were, "Here's a 'cheat sheet' in case you forget what you want to share."
He encouraged me to just begin with the key question and that God would lead me from there. God did lead me, and it was amazing. Her answer to the key question was, "I believe you need to be saved but you also need to live a good life and be a good person ... and Jennifer it's just too hard."
When I asked her if I could share with her what the Bible said the only way to Heaven is, her answer was "Jennifer, do you have time for that? Would you be willing to take time to do that for me?"
We went through the entire Gospel presentation and discussed any questions she had. That very night, she brokenheartedly cried as she repeated the sinner's prayer. We spoke for a very long time as we discussed her next steps in obedience to Christ. It was during this discussion she revealed the reason she had not prayed to receive Christ earlier. Besides not knowing how, she was also afraid her severe rheumatoid arthritis would not permit her to easily get up from her knees after praying in front of someone, and she was embarrassed by that. How deceitful Satan is! She truly believed she could not pray to receive Christ because she could not get down or up from her knees!
This experience has been so precious, yet has also made me bolder at the same time. I am very grateful to our Heavenly Father that my stepgrandmother was protected until she could receive Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. I am even more grateful that I have peace in knowing that if something happens to her before I get to see her again in her home, I will be reunited with her in Heaven!
I continue to share these stories with you because I want you to know that people are waiting for and wanting someone to share their heart and the message of our Lord with them. Satan continues to use the same old tactic of intimidation — the fear that "they" will not want to listen and will not like me. What is better: For them to say, "I'm not interested" or allowing them to go straight to hell? We are on the winning side and have the Holy Spirit — Satan loses. He knows it and is trying everyway possible to stop us. God bless you as you share the life-saving message with someone this week.
Bobby H. Welch is former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.