Talking to People, Like Jesus Did

I can still recall the precious moment that I devoted myself to Christ. I remember becoming totally sold-out, convinced that Jesus rose, saved me from my sins, and loves me forever. From that point on, spreading His message of salvation became so meaningful to me that it had to be my life’s purpose. I wanted nothing more than for people to accept the historical and spiritual truths of the Christian faith.

But early on, as I began talking to people about Christ, I found that most people were not receptive to the message. To my surprise, many conversations ended quite abruptly. I couldn’t understand why people could so easily reject the Gospel message that I deeply treasured.

How could they not love hearing about Jesus, especially after what He did for them on the cross? Was I the problem?

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Talking to People About Jesus, But Doing it Wrong

After this kept happening, I realized that although I was sharing the TRUTH of Jesus, I was getting in the way. I thought people were rejecting the truth of Jesus because they were rejecting Him. Turns out, they couldn’t stand talking to me. I began to realize that it was the way I was talking to people about the Gospel message that was the problem. 

I’ve heard Josh McDowell say, “Truth doesn’t change, but the way you present it better change.” 

This struck at the heart of my problem. I wasn’t adapting my message to my audience. I was talking to people in the same tone, convinced that the unchanging truth of Christ meant that I also could be unchanging in how I spoke to others. I came across like an insensitive robot! My passion for Jesus came out all wrong. Perhaps you can relate?

I wanted people to get excited about the truth of Christ. I wanted to draw them to Jesus, but my way of going about it pushed them away!

Reading my Bible one day, I was overjoyed to finally make the connection with how I could change. Ephesians 4:15 says this: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Sometimes the simplest verses are so powerful. It was crystal clear — I was talking to people about the truth, but not with love.

What does it really mean to speak in love? The next part of the verse clues us in: “grow up in every way…into Christ.”

When we’re young, we often look up to certain people that we decide we want to be like when we grow up. So we start acting like them. We might even dress like them. As a kid, I really admired Spiderman. I LOVED wearing my Spiderman costume! As children of God, growing into looking like Jesus means that we try to imitate Who He is.

As children of God, growing into looking like Jesus means that we try to imitate Him.That’s the key to speaking the truth in love. Instead of trying to measure up against a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” or simply “be nicer,” I opened my Bible to Jesus. I soaked up His example like a sponge, just as I did when I tried to be like Spiderman.

When I allowed Jesus to become the object of my admiration, I not only began to naturally imitate Him, He began to change me. This is why spending time with Christ in prayer, reading about Him in the Bible, and learning from others about Him is essential.

When I simply enjoyed Jesus, I began to deeply admire Him — and wanted to show up like He does. As His Word changed me, I slowly began to talk to people about His truth in love. His love.

Jesus Connected With Each Person

One particular Bible passage that deepened my admiration of Christ is about a woman highlighted in Mark 5:25-34. The story begins with Jesus in a crowd, “pressed around” on all sides. One in the crowd trying to get close to Jesus was this woman, who “had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.” 

It’s important to note the context here. The Old Covenant Law stated that women with blood issues had to be “put apart” from the community for seven days. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years. Pause and let that register. A decade of bleeding would have debilitated, depressed, and weakened her. Worse, she was made to live apart from her community, friends, and family. Exhausted. Lonely. Desperate for connection and love. Desperate for a way out.

Mark gives us the details of this encounter: 

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” His disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Notice how Jesus told her the Good News. He stopped everything, gave her His full attention, and addressed her as she truly was: not defective, not worthless, but as His beloved child. Jesus told her the truth in love. He carefully noted her desperation, and leaned into her vulnerability. I envision her sobbing tears of joy! Jesus fully healed her and fully accepted her — and now she could fully live.

Jesus didn’t tell people the Good News because He had to, but because He loved them. Though He could have stayed in Heaven, Jesus chose to become human, like us, so that we could see Him eye-to-eye, and clearly see and hear the truth.

Wow, I had it all upside down! Truth be told, in my early days of evangelizing, I spoke to everyone as if they were a Pharisee. But I realized that when I talk to people about the Good News, I must start with love — as Jesus did. 

And I must let that love guide how I speak to them. To show love, I have to want to understand others. I must step into their world and be relational with what they’re dealing with — as Jesus did. Yes, it’s harder for me because I don’t have God’s loving nature, but I could certainly do better! 

Let’s Follow Jesus’ Example

Jesus is for all of us, because He knows how desperately we need to be in relationship with Him. So let’s NOT get in the way and mess that up!

I invite you to reflect upon your own journey with Him. Reflect on how God reached out to you. It was with kindness and compassion, right? So how should that guide you in talking to people about the truth of Christ?

I hope you feel encouraged to imitate Christ in not only what He said, but how He said it. Let’s admire Him, and get excited about being like Him, so that others can come to personally know Him, too!

>>> God wants a relationship with you. Click here to learn more!

Dylan Kochan works in administration with Josh McDowell Ministry. He is an aspiring law/philosophy student, hoping to bring the Christian worldview to both fields. A resident of Southern California, Dylan is excited to marry his beautiful fianceé.

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