Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Evangelism only for the Healthy?

Does the Lord expect every disciple of Christ to share his or her faith? What if the person is emotionally unhealthy, in need of psychological healing, such as someone who has recently come through a hurtful divorce?

I expressed my views about every disciple being a witness for Christ in my earlier post on this blog, called "Being a Witness for Christ." That sums up my viewpoint.

I teach people a very comfortable way to share Jesus with others, which I learned from Bill Fay. I have practiced this for eleven years now. It is Scriptural, using the approach that Jesus used. And it does not raise people's defenses. Neither the person sharing nor the non-believer needs to get nervous when this approach is used. It is based on letting the Bible speak for itself and allowing the Holy Spirit to move as we pray and watch. I have seen people come to know Christ when I have shared this way. I have also taught this to believers in a few different countries, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the US with fruitfulness.

With that said, I will add that every living thing is designed to reproduce after its own kind. Dogs, dogs, apples, apples, humans, humans, and disciples, disciples. If something or someone is not reproducing, then it is probably a health issue. So the person needs to be healed in order to produce healthy offspring.

Yet aren't we all in a healing process to some extent? Perhaps we could say that. So we cannot delay sharing our faith forever with the excuse that we need emotional healing.

I think the main healing that must take place is spiritual healing. In other words, we are multifaceted. Our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. And if one part is sick, the whole person suffers. If a disciple is healthy spiritually, it will create the best environment for emotional and physical healing to occur. And as long as he is healthy spiritually, he should be sharing his faith. The emotional healing will eventually happen.

We are not necessarily saying that these emotionally unhealthy people should become mentors or pastors or provide leadership to others. That could do a lot of damage. But there is nothing to stop them from sharing Jesus.

Let's take the demon possessed Gerasene man for example. He was delivered from many demons that were tormenting him with self-destructive thoughts. When they came out of him, an entire herd of pigs could not resist the temptation to commit suicide when the demons entered them. Imagine what the man must have gone through when those demons were tormenting him! But once he was set free, he asked permission to travel with Jesus in ministry. While Jesus did not grant that request (at least not immediately), he told the man to go share his testimony with the people living in his home county or region. "And He did not let him, but He said to him, 'Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.' And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed." (Mar 5:19-20)

When the man did this, his efforts were fruitful. Everyone who heard him was amazed. However, do you think that after being demonized for so long, that there may have been some emotional or physical healing still needed in this man's life? Quite likely there was still some. The easiest part is always casting out the demons. The hard part is working with the person over the long term to maintain their deliverance and get the healing deep down in side, so they don't return to their old ways and become demonized once again. So even though this man very likely still had consequences to deal with or emotional healing still needed, the Lord used him, as he was obedient to share his faith.

Another example was the woman at the well. Imagine her emotional condition. She had already been married five times and was now living with a sixth man out of wedlock. We should not assume that the reason her first five marriages did not work out was solely the fault of those five husbands. Certainly she must have had psychological issues that led to dysfunction in her relationships. And if she did not have any beforehand, she would certainly have emotional damage after surviving five divorces!! Yet what did she do?

"So the woman left her water pot, and went into the city and said to the men, 'Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?' They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. (Joh 4:28-30)

She testified of what Jesus did for her. She was obedient to go call her former husbands to meet Jesus, as He had told her to do. She led many people to Christ. They were coming to Him. Her simple act of sharing Jesus resulted in great fruitfulness!

"From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all the things that I have done.' So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, 'It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.' " (Joh 4:39-42)

So I think these two examples are enough evidence that we don't need to wait until we are completely healed of all our emotional problems before we share our faith. Once we come to know Him, the Lord expects us all to testify to the people in our lives of what Jesus has done, so that they may come to know Him, too.

Too often people make excuses why they cannot share Jesus with others. They put it off until later. So if we tell them to wait until they are emotionally healed, we are just giving them one more excuse. There needs to be a sense of urgency about sharing the gospel! As Jesus told his disciples, after the woman at the well went to tell others about him, "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest." (Joh 4:35)

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's Note: You are invited to visit the Home page of this blog, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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