Author Jonathan Noyes
Published on 07/17/2023
Christian Living

Don’t Be a Jerk for Jesus

Jon Noyes explains how to avoid falling into the trap of cancel culture in how we treat others.


I want to make sure that we don’t ever create “jerks for Jesus.” When I first got saved, I was passionate. I’m the only Christian in my family, and I really just wanted every single person—my brother, my sister, my mom, my dad—to come to know who Jesus is. I want them to know the truth. Out of that love, and out of my excitement of what I had just found, the way I was sharing stuff wasn’t working. One night, in a conversation, my mom actually said, “Jon, what you’re saying might be true, but the way you’re saying it is really off-putting.” I remember thinking, “Ouch.” That hurt.

We want to defend the truth, but we want to do it in a winsome way. We don’t want to fall into the lies of cancel culture. We can cancel people, as well. I see it happening a lot. But the way that we treat people matters because, as one apologist says, behind every question is a questioner. And we always want to keep that questioner in in the forefront of our minds when we’re answering them because, oftentimes, when I answer somebody’s objection—if I’m on a college campus or in a high school or I’m addressing an atheist or I’m talking to my family—the question they’re asking really isn’t even the issue. The issue is much deeper. So, we want to be careful on how we answer things. We’re not straying from the truth, but we want to be careful that we are not adding anything to the gospel, as far as offense, because, as Greg Koukl says, the gospel is offensive enough.

So, how do you become winsome? It’s simple. Practice. As my prayer life for people who are lost increased, I started to view people differently. Paraphrasing C.S Lewis, the body might be decaying and withering away, but our soul is forever. So, when you’re talking to somebody, if you can keep that in your mind—this isn’t just a person, this isn’t just some product of evolution, this isn’t just somebody who’s just going to be here one day and gone the next, but there’s transcendent value, there’s a transcendent soul—that’s meaningful. It has purpose. That helps me to get in a good mindset to talk to people in a little bit more winsome way—a kinder way, maybe. And trust me, I am the most direct person. I’m the guy who’s always, like, “Yeah. That doesn’t make sense.” I run into the issue full force. I’m the bull in the china shop. So, it takes practice, and it takes discipline. The more that you become aware of it, the better you are. Ask people honestly, “Hey, how do I treat you?” You could do that with your unbelieving friends. “Do you enjoy these conversations or not?” And that doesn’t mean you have to be passionless, by the way, because I am full of passion.