Someone once said:
“Talk at me and you’ll talk alone
Talk to me and I’ll listen
Talk about me and I’ll listen for hours.”
Here’s a hint for anyone sharing Jesus with those who don’t know Him. Don’t talk down to people. You are not a bearer of Good News if your message comes across as “I’m perfect and safe and you are doomed.” Don’t talk at a person because then you are treating them as a target and as another notch on your Gospel gun. They are not some trophy to be displayed. They are a human being made in God’s image with an eternal soul inside of them.
Secondly, don’t just talk to a person. Listen first and find out something about them. Remember, this is about them and not about you. And don’t constantly relate what they are saying back to your life and thus cut them off so you can share out of “empathy.” Get your counselling and feel good sessions elsewhere. Listen carefully and hear what they are saying and how they are saying it – tired, excited, determined, satisfied… Then you will be able to talk to them at their level about what is happening in their life and relate it to the Gospel and their eternal destiny. Note the number of “their” and the lack of “you” or “I”). Keep yourself and your stuggles and victories to yourself. It is not about you – it is about the person you are talking with and Jesus and the possible relationship they might have if you share the Gospel and they receive it.
Having listened – not you can talk about them and they will listen, literally for hours. But, again, talk to them about Jesus. If you have to mention what He has done in your life – briefly and get right to the point. Long stories centered on your experience are not helpful. Your whole testimony – from sinner to saint – should never occupy more than two or three minutes of any conversation (any longer and you are boring them – your life story to them is boring).
Actress Lisa Kirk is quoted as saying: “A gossip is one who talks to you about others; a bore is one who talks to you about himself; and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.”
She understood human nature very well. Take heed believer and watch your success rate go up. You will get to share the Gospel much more often.