Something happened at a picnic I was recently at that reminded me of an important lesson a speaker at Wheaton College taught me. His main point went like this: Jesus told us to go and make disciples yet too many Christians are going around vaccinating people against Jesus. They do this by how they evangelize, treat others, and live their daily lives. The tragic result is that they end up chasing folks away from Jesus and these individuals rarely ever come back to him. That vaccination image stuck with me and I hope it will stay in your mind as well.
This is what happened at that picnic and I hope neither you nor I ever vaccinate someone against Jesus like this. I was sitting at a picnic table socializing with people I had just met for the first time. I knew one person at the event and he was detained elsewhere. It was a good time of basic relationship building and conversation with some interesting people.
While we were chatting a woman who had been eating with us came back kind of excited. She received an email on her phone from a dating site. A man responded to her and he seemed very nice, with only minor issues. On his list of desired qualities was this item that a girl friend live nearby so she could go with him to his Baptist Church. This woman lived nearby but was not interested in going to church with him. She sent him a reply thanking him for the interest and letting him know that she was not interested in attending his Baptist Church because she was a member of another religion, closing with a smiley face. She then got up to chat with a friend.
Just a few minutes later she came back quite upset. That man had responded already. His response was simply, “Too bad you are going to Hell!! Goodbye.” She got a lot of sympathy and there were several others who related similar Christian horror stories. I found out they had been thoroughly vaccinated against Jesus. This is also one of the reasons some of them went to other faith traditions.
I will have to live Christ before them consistently over the long term to have a chance at a positive impact. However, I wonder if the damage is so deep they will ever consider coming to Jesus.
There are many quotes with the message that the Gospel’s worst enemies are Christians. The man who sent that message certainly was no help to the cause of Christ that day. That lesson given at Wheaton 40 years ago is sadly still relevant today. My hope is that you and I take it to heart and stop vaccinating people against Jesus.