There are almost 7 million people who live in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas – and almost every one of them has been yelled at by the street preachers in Fort Worth.
It’s happened every time I go to the Sundance Square area (an otherwise wonderful place). They gather around the block near the parking garages and yell at people who are waiting for the crosswalk signal to say “walk.” (Some of us just start running through traffic to get away from them.) They scream in your face about needing to be prepared for the judgment seat and repenting so you don’t go to Hell. And they always mention that those of us who are Believers are not safe and must start repenting, too. But it’s not the message that annoys people; what is annoying is the hateful and forceful way they scream at people. It’s a form of assault, frankly.
Some street preachers stand behind their laurels and say that they are doing God’s work and shouldn’t be criticized if people are turned off by the message, but that’s not what’s happening. There is no one who appreciates being verbally attacked for any cause, and no good message can be effectively conveyed this way.
“JESUS LOVES YOU AND HAS A GREAT PLAN FOR YOU! ARE YOU LISTENING? GRRRRR!”
These people are hurting Christianity – not helping it. They are not suffering persecution when they are dismissed by crowds or asked by police officers to leave. They are being very rude, and they are simply not reflecting God’s love.
Remember Jesus’ ministry? Talking kindly to the woman at the well, forgiving the woman who was about to be stoned to death and criticizing her legalistic accusers, embracing children, and otherwise acting with compassion toward people were His methods That should also be the model for your ministry.
Violent rhetoric is not noble. It’s petty.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)