What’s the worst that could happen?” I grew up with variations on that phrase, and I suspect I’m not alone. Now as a parent, I too find myself saying it on occasion. Usually when we contemplate the worst-case scenario, we see that our fears are really unfounded. Other times, when the worst does happen, it helps to clarify our choices.
As believers in Yeshua, we often find that we must embark upon a course of action, not because it offers the certainty of success but because inaction means certain failure. We need to continue to raise high the banner of our Messiah, not because all will listen but because we will only experience defeat if we lower His ensign. Those who regard rejection as a cross they cannot bear will fail in bearing the message of the cross.
No one likes to be rejected, but like most fears, the fear of rejection is usually more potent than the actual experience. When someone rejects a politely offered gospel message, they are not making a statement about the one who offers it as much as they are making a statement about themselves. We believers are in a spiritual battle, and those who are active in sharing their faith know this more than others.
This is not written for the bold, but for the timid. If you feel timid about witnessing, ask yourself: What’s the worst that could happen?
Usually, rejection comes in the form of apathy or indifference. At its extreme, it may escalate to hostility. From there, the “worst-case scenario” would be martyrdom, but that is not a likely outcome to peaceful evangelistic efforts, at least not in the United States!
You might be surprised and pleased to know that our Gentile Christian friends regularly encounter less hostility then we do in sharing their faith with a Jewish acquaintance. In fact, our best contacts with Jewish individuals have come from Gentile Christians who took a step of faith, put aside their fear of rejection and spoke about Yeshua to a Jewish neighbor, co-worker, classmate or acquaintance. So, in the case of a Gentile witnessing to a Jewish friend or neighbor, a “worst-case scenario” is also an “improbable case scenario.”
Even when emotions flair, one usually has an opportunity to lower the tension and redeem the situation. People don’t relinquish the reins of their hearts to the Lord in the heat of a verbal battle, but that very heat might melt their walls of defense at a later time. While a heated verbal exchange may be someone’s idea of a “worst-case scenario,” it may not be God’s.
When a brick falls in the physical world, the person who screams loudest is the one who got hit by it. That may be a graphic example, but when the name of Jesus brings rage, perhaps it is because that irate person has felt a few “holy bricks” from the Heavenly Builder.
What is the worst that will happen if you share the gospel with a Jewish friend? I don’t know, but I do know that God is in control, and His grace will be sufficient for your situation. The “worst-case scenario” in this case lies in your not presenting the message of Yeshua to someone who desperately needs to hear it!