When sharing Christ one-on-one with people, I invariably share what he's done for me and I share what He's made available for anyone who would just believe. Admittedly, the most common response is "Yes, I believe in Jesus. But I need to sort myself out first, get my mind right and then start going to church." #confusedlookonmyface
Did they not hear what I was saying? Or maybe it's their way of trying to end the awkward conversation?
Even after sharing the GOOD news of the FREE gift for those who would JUST believe, the default response is about their need to sort themselves out and turn their life around - almost as if they've been pre-conditioned to the stereotypical belief that before they come to Jesus asking for forgiveness, they need to stop sinning to some degree. I mean, lest we forget the old adage: God helps those who help themselves! (Still haven't found that one in the Bible.)
What makes the good news so good, is that actually God helps those who CAN'T help themselves. That's why it's called good News and not good Advice.
Let me tell you a story of how good this is: Suppose your life is represented by a white carpet in a bedroom. As time goes by, you spill all sorts of things on this white carpet. Over time the messy food and drinks, the red tomato sauce and the black shoe marks make this carpet shine like a Vegas neon light show! It's becomes anything but white. The problem, is that God expects white. And I mean really white; it must be a clear shining sparkling diamond pristine white!
So you and I resort to our default: A boer maak a plan! We get down on our knees with some good old fashioned Preen and carpet soap and we shampoo the hell out of that carpet. We scrub till our knees and elbows are purple. But alas, no clean shining sparkling diamond pristine white carpet. It's still a mess. Nothing you can do can make your carpet clean.
When the good news is believed and we surrender ourselves to trying to help ourselves in order for God to help us, He rocks up and doesn't whip out a special formula carpet shampoo folks. Not on your life!! You know what He does? He takes that carpet with his bare hands and rips it out of place and tosses it in the dump bin. He replaces your carpet with a brand new, never been seen before, ultra thick woolly clear shining sparkling diamond pristine white carpet. He gives you a brand new carpet! PLUS...this carpet is mess and stain resistant. No matter what falls on this thing, it can never be stained again. Wow!! (And I guarantee it's not made in China.)
We are unable to clean ourselves. And we're equally unable to keep ourselves clean. The good news is that God doesn't expect us too either. In Jesus, He has provided the perfect solution to cleaning us up. He makes us brand new. He perfects us forever. He gives us a clean heart. He makes us righteous and even calls us righteous. He gives us the very righteousness of Jesus as a gift. And nothing can stain Jesus' righteousness; not even you! He doesn't do this for those who sort themselves out. He does this for those who realise they can't sort themselves out and that they desperately need HIM to do the sorting. This is the Gospel. This is Good News!
In my own experience, I have found the best way of sharing the Gospel is by using as little Christian-ese as possible and instead, tell a story (like I have above) to illustrate the Gospel of God's work on behalf of those who would believe.
So whether it's my hair dresser, customer or work mate; I've found that stories work best. I mean, after reading the above story - didn't it work better for you too?