What would happen if Jesus walked into your local coffee shop today and sat down with one of the customers? Someone who probably has some wounds and anger and disappointments in life. What would He say? How would He view them?
When you sit down with a person who is hurting — who feels they are worthless, that they have messed up their life, that God could never care — what do you say?
The Bible makes it clear that you and I – as part of Christ’s spiritual body called the church – are the means by which God communicates His love to a world of hurting people. You and I have a divine appointment in that coffee shop or wherever He takes us! Even to people we might not naturally associate with.
You might feel as if you have nothing to share. Well, we can learn a lot from the way Jesus models how to speak the words of life – to anyone.
Breaking the Barriers
You’re probably familiar with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42).
In this dramatic passage, Jesus models for us how to break through barriers of prejudice and extend grace, rather than condemnation. He shows us how to help people face their lives honestly and accept who He is. For those who respond, He uses their life experiences — the good, the bad, and the ugly — to repeat the cycle and enable them to share with others the love of God.
Remember, the Samaritan woman was an outcast in her own town. That didn’t stop Jesus from reaching out to her.
- Do you find it hard to associate with people you think are immoral?
Jesus ignored her social standing and her sordid past to ask her for help (“Would you give me a drink?”). Then he offered her something that would quench her real thirst.
- Are you willing to be vulnerable with people, so that you could build relationships that give you an opportunity share God’s offer of life?
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)
Once the Samaritan woman started asking Him questions, Jesus without condemnation got her to face the truth about her life.
- Do you often have a judgmental attitude toward people, or do you point them to something better?
When Jesus showed Himself to be the Living Water, the Samaritan woman boldly shared Him with the townspeople, who must have been astonished since they all knew about her sordid life.
- Would you be willing to leverage your pain and failures as a way to break through barriers, extend grace, and draw people to Christ?
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (John 4:41).
God has divine appointments for you in the next weeks, months, and years in which you will be loving and helping people as if Jesus Himself was loving and helping them. Because it is Him – working through you!
Who is God pursuing in your family, your work world, or your network of friends and acquaintances? God uses our “baggage” as ways to break through to people. You’ve experienced God’s grace and forgiveness. Now extend it to others.
For more information on this topic, take a look at Chip’s series, “The Real God.”
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip