Nobody Wants to be *That* Guy

streetpreacherNobody wants to be that guy preaching the gospel on the street corner. Nobody wants to be the guy knocking on his neighbors’ doors inviting them to church or sharing Christ with them. Nobody wants to be the girl who tells her roommate it’s a sin for her boyfriend to have his hands down her pants. And no, it doesn’t matter that you’re planning to get married. Nobody wants to be that family that walks out of the theater because they refuse to hang out in the company of losers on screen. Nobody wants to be that student who raises his hand and points out that if there is no god then gang rape is a perfectly reasonable option to consider for sexual fulfillment.

Nobody wants to point out that your favorite television show is full of vile language and more tits than even any self respecting farmer ought to see in a life time. Nobody wants to be the lady who gently suggests that the reason you got that piercing was to offend the older women at church and maybe score with the cute boy in the choir. Nobody really wants to repeat what Paul says about husbands and wives, cheerfully without apology, in a clear voice into the microphone. Don’t worry: I won’t repeat it here in case there are some tender consciences reading.

Nobody wants to be that guy because it’s awkward, embarrassing, complicated. It’s certainly not cool. It’s not trendy. It’s almost sure to be misunderstood as self-righteous do-gooding. It’s almost sure to be construed as arrogant legalism. It’s almost sure to be seen as prudish fundamentalism. It’s judgmental, inconsiderate, unkind, offensive, anti-intellectual. It might make following Jesus seem foolish. It might make the gospel seem embarrassing. It might be a bad testimony.

But this means that the reason nobody wants to be that guy is because we’re a bunch of cowards. And when somebody actually speaks up, ears redden, throats clear, and the exceptions, clarifications, and apologies flood the airwaves. Which is to say that we are not actually toe dabbling in the world while firmly rooted in Christ. We’re actually in up to our necks, and we think the fact that our pinky toe is still barely touching the bottom means that we’ve got everything under control. It’s called a Christian worldview. It’s called deep theology. It’s called gospel centered cultural engagement. It’s called evangelistic contextualization.

I don’t know. I think it’s called selling out.

If you’re not regularly finding yourself or putting yourself in situations where you are tempted to be ashamed of Jesus, then you’re just not doing it right. Which is to say that we should probably be spending a lot more time being that guy than we do.

  1. Shari April 29

    I love that you are encouraging us to not be cowardly. I think the thing that often gives the courageous a bad rap is that we can do it in judgment and pride, without acknowledging the suffering of our fellow man or our own desperate need. I have a hard time with the guy street preaching when he’s pouring wrath on a people he doesn’t know. But when he is offering the sweet hope of Jesus I think that’s awesome. I have a hard time telling someone to not sleep around when I’m not also addressing the brokenness and need she has for validation. I have a hard time addressing a young girl’s piercings when I haven’t first heard the story of her longing to have a dad even acknowledge her existence.

    I think a part, and I’ll go so far as to say it’s a major part, of preaching Jesus is to start by walking with, hearing from and hurting for those we want to preach to. But you see, I use to be a Christian who did all the right things in my own strength…until by his grace I no longer could even figure out what the right thing to do was. I had hatred and bitterness that ruled. There was no figuring out how to get rid of it…I needed a Savior to save me. We need to preach salvation not rule keeping. And when someone else is breaking the “rules” we need to listen, walk with, understand and then preach the Savior because we have been SAVED. Yes and Amen to being courageous. Yes and Amen to speaking the Truth in love. Yes and Amen to walking humbly, living righteously, and loving others well.

  2. Toby, that is a really good and painful word. And one that ministers, like myself, need to hear. It is easy for us to rarely get into those types of situations. Or to only speak boldly when we are behind the pulpit. I struggle with the balance on this. I know that sometimes “balance” is just an excuse for compromise. But I was wondering if you would be willing to clarify Here were my two questions :

    First, what is the line between selling out and just being kind? There are many sins in the lives of my brothers and sisters that I never confront. Is that selling out or is that overlooking a transgression?

    Second, what do you do with the person who sees it as their mission in life to confront every sin they see or think they see in someone else’s? They are fruit inspectors. They would read your post and say, “We need to do more confronting.” When in reality they are already meddling in the business of others far too often.

    Thanks again. I am always encouraged by your posts and preaching. With Grace, Peter Jones

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