The Trap of Manipulation

Does manipulation work in Gospel sharing? If you have been out there sharing the Gospel and are not a tare planter, the answer is NO! You won’t be able to guilt one into believing by telling them how bad a sinner they are. Nor will be able to convince one to believe by being A FAKE to them.

A critique I personally have on some street preachers is although I applaud them for being zealous and doing the work of the Kingdom, some take the wrong approach. You will find the guilt manipulation more than not with signs or a guy a blow horn saying “you are a dirty sinner, so repent” or something to this effect. While it is true, this is done for effect, to start an argument. The thinking is if I can show how bad a person is, maybe they will accept the Gospel.

The problem comes in based on seeing the street preacher as also a human being. What sins have they committed? Are they not also a dirty sinner in need of repentance? These would be the questions silently being asked by those passing by I believe. So while the zealousness might look great, it stops the conversation, and the ears close to what the Good News is. Rarely if EVER if you watch the videos, you will see the unbeliever show interest in the Good News by this approach. Why? Because they don’t know the testimony of the preacher, they walk away thinking, “who was he to tell me anything, I am not so bad”.

So hammering away with “you are a dirty rotten sinner” is the truth, but if you as the preacher are not also saying “we all are dirty rotten sinners in need of a Savior”, you will lose your audience.

On the opposite end of manipulation are the cordial preachers. “Let me your buddy and you will believe everything I say” is the mentality. While this approach my extend conversations, and unless you are in it for the LONG term with a sinner, this approach really goes nowhere. I am not saying one should not be kind and accommodating, sharing the Gospel in love, but what I am saying is to remove YOU from the equation. It is not about YOU if the person converts or they do not convert! It is about Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

So what to me is the right approach? TRUSTING in the word of God! Speaking the truth through His word, not covering portions for your own esteem, but speaking to the WHOLE counsel of God. Viewing yourself, placing yourself in the sinner’s shoes, because YES you were in those shoes! Did you reject the word more than once? Were you a bit taken back and confused at first? Ask yourself how you felt and what you were thinking when you yourself were shown the Gospel while as an unbeliever. Then approach every sinner in that respect.

In sales we call it empathy. We never establish any relationship by manipulating one or guilting one to buy what we are selling. The Gospel is not a commodity, it is a truth, but the principle of how it is shared is vital to gain a listener to what you are telling them. With this YOU WILL NOT PLEASE EVERYONE. More than often they will immediately turn you off at the word “God” or “Jesus Christ”, so don’t expect different results. Don’t be tempted into then manipulating an unbeliever outside of what you know, not by your opinion either, it has to come from the word of God. They need to know you were in their shoes! That you understand their plight!

Stick to the word of God, trust in it! If it was God’s decree that unbeliever heard the Gospel from you today and turned, rejoice! It wasn’t in His counsel today, don’t get down on yourself, don’t try harder, just trust in Him. It will be by His hand only who converts that unbeliever. Rejection is part of the persecution and suffering we must endure. Look at this way, Jesus Christ in the flesh looked sinners in their eyes, and they rejected Him!

Fight off the temptation to manipulate, to forgo the trust in God and try a different message. They won’t believe if you gave them a million dollars to do so, and at the same time they will believe if you didn’t! They won’t believe by you telling them how terrible a sinner they are, unless they know that you too needed salvation because you were a terrible sinner! Trust that the Gospel is the POWER unto salvation!

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