As much as I consider myself to be and profess myself as an "active Christian," I recently realized that outside of a missions setting, I've never evangelized. I've always been active in stating my views and at times imposing them on others that disagreed, but I have never made strides to invite someone to my church and definitely never have asked an Atheist to come join me in following Christ. The very fact that typing the previous sentence made me cringe is a red flag to me that I really need reevaluate my faith as a whole, but more on that later.
I often make this comparison when I go into a deep thought spiral and try to be hard on myself regarding my life as a Christian. By definition, I believe that unless you've been saved (if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, believing he died for your sins), then by grace you are lifted from what should've been eternal damnation in hell to an everlasting life in Heaven post death. I hope I'm not that rusty in my discussion of Christianity that my theology is off, but I'd argue most Christians (actually maybe not most as this wave of "new Christianity" is coming up where they pick and choose what they want to believe based on their political affiliations) would agree with this simplified explanation of what we believe. By that logic then, the reverse is also true - if you don't believe in what we believe, you are destined to hell. Although we could argue for all of this being ultimately God's decision and use my punchline of "if a really bad person believed in Jesus right before he died he can go to heaven and a really good person could believe that he's believing in Jesus but if God thinks otherwise, they can go to hell," I want to focus this post on my struggle with evangelism. So let's agree to settle (solely for argument's sake, especially if you don't consider yourself a Christian and heaven, hell, and God stuff sounds like fiction) on the logic that if you believe in what Christianity teaches you you're going to heaven, if you don't you're going to hell.
With this idea in mind, the comparison I mentioned in the first sentence of the first paragraph above is this - there's a widespread disease that guarantees death out there (I'm trying to be careful here as I know we're still amidst a pandemic!!!) and I'm one of the people that knows how to cure it. In fact, I know ways to not only cure it but ensure great health forever. Better yet, it doesn't cost money and there's actually a fair number (but a decreasing number) of people that also know the cure. However, whether it be out of laziness, self-interest, or perhaps (and the worst reason) a subconscious belief that I may not be as sure of this cure as I appear to be, I keep this cure from you. I'm not actively keeping it from you in that if you ask about the cure I pretend it doesn't exist or if you bring a false cure I don't condemn it, but I don't go out of my way to tell people about the cure even though I know (or believe, since some people are uncomfortable when I say "know" - open minded right?) for a fact that you will die and rot in hell forever without it.
I think the scariest part, and the part of the logic that I am really struggling with objectively, is that even as I write this and reflect on this thought process, I don't really feel anything (and definitely not guilt). I don't have a dying urge to go out there and profess my love for Jesus, change my Instagram bio to Jeremiah 29:11 or take a gap year to Africa. I know I'm relatively mocking a certain group of people, but in all seriousness I don't think I've ever had an urge to evangelize. I think there are immature parts of me that looks at "active Atheists," who go out of THEIR way to criticize Christianity and laugh at my beliefs, and subconsciously want them to find out the hard way that they were wrong. It's like how the dark sides of Twitter, Reddit and Facebook get a kick out of people who die from Covid after they've denounced it as fake. It's unfortunate that the two different groups of people I just described are probably mutually exclusive in sharing participants in this day and age of identity politics.
When I've discussed such concerns with other Christians and mentors of mine, they say similar things - "I've never done so either" or the more comforting, "there's different ways God uses us to bring people to Him." I see the merit of the second statement, in the same way that there are different ways for us to contribute to society. I always recall Peter Singer's view of how we should have a utilitarian mindset in helping the poor - instead of jumping into non-profit organizations, we should all become as rich as possible by becoming investment bankers (the irony) and donate money instead. Perhaps my calling isn't to bring people to Christ through Facebook messaging them to come out to Friday night service, but it's to write this blog posts that make people feel a certain way. Maybe not.
I think I'm at this weird point where I'm very confident in what I believe and I know in my head that we're called to go "to the ends of the Earth" and talk about Jesus, but I don't feel like I'm sinning by not doing the latter. Hopefully the 50 or so of you that sees this post counts as some form of evangelism so I feel better about myself. Jesus Christ died for your sins, came back to life, He's your savior and if you believe in all that you're going to heaven.