My hubby and I spend considerable time witnessing to people about the goodness and mercy of the Lord Jesus in our lives. Most of the time, the strangers we meet give us time to present our case before moving on. Sometimes, the reaction is not so nice, and in those cases we move on. As you can imagine, preaching on the streets is easier when you don’t know the person you are speaking with.
But we don’t just share the gospel with strangers. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is our life, and thus, we also speak about the goodness of Jesus to our family and friends. Herein, lies the crux of the matter. These people come with a conclusion of who we are from a history of dealings with both them and hearing from others who know us equally as well. As one can imagine, it is difficult to hide the “real you” from these folks.
In one case, a very good friend, and a long-time buddy of my husband’s jokingly attached the name “preacher and screecher” to the two of us. He has not admitted which is which, but knowing this friend, it’s probably a safe bet to suggest that the screecher is me. In my defense, I come by this name honestly. He is certainly not the first to point out my flaws. Plus, my emotions and frame of heart are often evident from my eyes and body language.
As a counter argument, I often tell people I am wonderfully made – aka unique – that this is the way God purposed me while I was still in my mother’s womb. Like our friend, some laugh others mock, reiterating that “good Christians” are gentle and meek, and should not be trying to push their beliefs on others. Still others do not know quite what to say about me, knowing that by worldly standards, my accomplishments have made a positive difference.
So where does the term screecher come from? It certainly is not a term that most would willingly embrace. In fact, some might find it offensive. But not me. Let me explain why.
Admittedly, I am a heart person. I am the one always aims to please. I like to give (even when I am without), and I love far too much – which the Bible calls giving without measure — which can and does get me into trouble more often than not. All good qualities by societal standards. But, and this is a big but, I also desire in my heart to be like Jesus.
What does this look like? Well, in practical terms, I want to right the wrongs for those who have been (and are being) wronged. If social policy is not working, I work to have it reversed or at the very least revised until the policy becomes effective. And these principles do not start and stop in the worldly sphere. These beliefs also extend into areas of Christian faith. This means, in essence, that you will find me standing firmly for the Word of God over those who teach contrary to the faith God Himself delivered. Like Jesus, I desire to share His knowledge and wisdom with those around me so that they too can receive His blessings. And through my testimony, I try to warn others of the pitfalls of my own life experiences, wherein the best laid plans went off track, before the Lord granted me a second chance by hitting the restart button.
Most of all, like Jesus did when He wept, my heart grieves when I know someone is rejecting Jesus without ever having opened a Bible. When Jesus is not an option without that individual ever taking a chance that maybe, just maybe the gospel of Jesus Christ really is the best news in town. When they close the door or change the subject before I can tell them how good our God is.
Thankfully, Jesus knows our innermost hearts desire even before we ask and He is able to bring all things to the good of those who love Him. There are many examples of this in the Bible but my favourite is Martha and Mary. After their brother Lazarus died, the people from the countryside came to comfort the two. Jesus, knowing how much they loved Lazarus was coming to raise Lazarus back to life but the sisters thought He had just let His friend die. Even so, Martha ran when she saw Jesus coming and said, “I know that [Lazarus] shall rise again in the resurrection of the last day.” In other words, she was willing to see Lazarus again in the resurrection of the last day but Jesus had a better plan. Jesus said to Martha, “I am the Resurrection, and the Life; he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:20-27)
Indeed, a valid question.
The same question that I continually ask our friend – “Believest thou this?” Do you believe that Jesus shed His precious blood for you so that you could have eternal life in Him? To those who don’t know Jesus personally, the foolishness of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ may sound like screeching. Thus, the term. For me, though, it is a stripe worth bearing for a Lord who willingly laid down His life on a cross for me. Now, if only, I could convince our good friend of the many blessings – the peace and joy that only Jesus can give. But I recognize too that maybe, just this one time, I need to do a little less screeching, and much more preaching. Blessings, everyone!