There are a lot of options when it comes to religion. One can choose to be Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, New Age, agnostic, atheist, or just materialistic. And for every option, there is a voice clamoring to be heard that claims it is the only worthwhile option.
In this respect Christianity is no different. Perhaps we have the most programs on TV and the most books in the bookstores, but we are still trying to shout above everyone else that we have the ONLY message. And we know we do. The problem is that to the outsider, we just sound like another group clamoring for attention.
Our message is different, but no one will care unless they see that our lives are different as well. The old axiom “actions speak louder than words” rings true here. We need to earn the right to be heard. There are characteristics in our lives that will help us with this and also any number of specific actions we can take to show that we are different.
What can you do to earn the right to be heard?
Character – Used car salesmen, politicians, lawyers – what do these people have in common? Most people don’t hold these in high regard because they are viewed as untrustworthy or corrupt. If we are perceived to lack character, people are less likely to believe what we have to say. On the other hand, if people know us to have outstanding character, they will be much more inclined to listen to what is said.
Unfortunately we may have to overcome the sins of our forefathers as well. If you mention the word “televangelist” you might get a cringe. I cringe when I hear the word. Because a couple of high profile people lacked character two decades ago, preachers, particularly those on TV have a tougher time getting people to believe their message. The same has been done in recent years with priests. Many outsiders couldn’t tell you the difference between Protestant and Catholic, priest and pastor. As foolish as it seems, pastors need to prove to some people that they aren’t child molesters before they’ll be taken seriously.
Competence – “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. Our work ethic is a reflection on God. That’s not to say anything against breaks and vacations; God rested as an example for us. However, it is a poor reflection on us and God if we are incompetent at our work, whether that work is mowing our lawn or our occupation.
If we had a guest speaker and he showed up looking like he had slept in his clothes and had just rolled out of bed how receptive would we be to his message, regardless of content? Why?
We are the “guest speaker” in other people’s lives. Competence has a lot to do with how we are perceived. When you realize a person is competent, you are more likely to listen to their message.