I’m numb from media onslaught with fear mongering stories. I wonder if I’m listening to voices inspired by God or those of the enemy. And I wonder about the outcome of manipulation. There are days when I have to walk away – thanking our merciful God who offers me a choice.
I used to wonder if evangelism was manipulation. When evangelizing is defined as “the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others with the intention of conversion,” couldn’t it be wise to be wary of those who captivate with their rhetoric? Again the voices masterfully create uncertainty. The monologue in my head has been effective in pushing me further away from others, creating dis-unity in me, breaking relationships, causing me to forget how much God loves.
God comes after us when we focus on the negative. In the dark, troubling side of life God pursues us. Christ reminds us of where God is and the way God is going. John 10:27-30 offers this reassurance, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, and I am one with the Father.”
God gives examples of love. Tells us stories of Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, the men and women who were Jesus’ disciples. God sings the songs of David and the wisdom of Isaiah and Jeremiah. God touches life with evidence of love. We experience the friend who encourages, the group that reaches out to newcomers, the sister who speaks prayers in the face of military attack, the child who draws pictures to keep in hymn books, the insistence of the disenfranchised for justice. Every day life bears witness to the love Jesus has taught to us and demonstrated for us.
This I can understand. When I am able to feel, hear, know God’s way of loving, I am compelled. I am moved toward others and we are formed in and shaped with The Evangelist’s Spirit. Love is the voice of the evangelist, unity the result.
Praise God, who loves us relentlessly, forgives us completely, and inspires us eternally!