If you believe someone is mistaken about an important matter, are you more likely to come across as arrogant? Do you find yourself lacking humility in those conversations?
I was recently asked what believers can do to remain humble when they engage non-believers. After all, I was told, Christians think non-believers are mistaken about Jesus. Is there a solution that will help believers evangelize with humility? Three quick thoughts come to mind.
First, the Bible commands believers to be humble. Philippians 2:3–8 tells us, “With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” The passage later tells believers to have the same attitude as Christ, who “humbled himself.” First Peter 5:5–6 commands younger men in this way: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” and “humble yourselves.” Scripture routinely reminds us that humility should characterize our attitude in various situations, and so it seems reasonable to think that such an attitude should carry over into other areas of our life, including evangelism.
Second, we should remember that we were once wrong about Jesus. There was a time when we didn’t put our trust in Christ because we didn’t believe he was real or that he was who he claimed he was. In other words, we were wrong. We were once in their shoes. It could be that you grew up in a Christian home and put your trust in Jesus at a young age. Even if that was you, there are many other truths in life that you’ve been wrong about. Remembering that we have believed a false view should affect our mindset and temper how we treat someone who is mistaken about Jesus.
Third, we should remember the person we’re talking to is an image-bearer of God. That means they are a valuable person and important to God. Since they’re valuable to God, they should be valuable to us, even if they’re wrong about many important matters. Therefore, it’s wrong for us to look down on them in a condescending way.
Believing you’re right about a matter (and that someone else is wrong) does not automatically render you unable to be humble. If we lack humility when we share the gospel, that’s a problem. A prideful attitude will affect the manner in which you share your convictions. That’s not good. Remember, though, you’re an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), and you’re called to present the truth in a persuasive and gracious way.