About 18 months ago, I read a compelling article about a new type of cycle helmet: the Abus Kranium. You might well be wondering what is so special about this helmet – please, allow me to tell you… A ‘normal’ cycle helmet gives a little protection if you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision. The various statistics and tests suggest that they will keep you safe as long as your head is travelling no faster than 15mph. This is fine if you enjoy tootling along sedately and if the collision involves no other moving vehicles.
However, collisions and other cycling accidents frequently involve greater speeds than 15mph. A car might strike you at 30mph. A steep downward slope, a stiff breeze and a pair of strong legs might increase a cyclist’s speed to 30mph, or more.
So, friends, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Abus Kranium offers protection against impacts of up to 50mph!
I’m sure that you’re all impressed.
I wasted no time in buying one from the only store in the UK that seemed to stock them, Velorution in London. As the months have passed, I’ve not wasted an opportunity to tell people about Kraniums (or, maybe it’s Krania?) I believe promoting things that make life safer is a nice thing to do. Who knows, perhaps my pro bono advertising will help to save a person’s life? A couple of folks have asked me if I’m ‘on commission’. I can emphatically answer, “No.”
I would now like to confess to something very worrying: the last few months have proved that I find it easier talking to people about a cycle helmet than I do talking to people about the Good News of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And I have no doubt that I’m not alone in this misplaced reticence. Many Christians struggle with evangelism. Some Christians are even uncomfortable with the word, evangelism. Christians will talk easily about many things: from football, to soap operas, to business dealings, to holidays, to hair-styles, to cycle helmets (odd though this latter topic may be!) Why do we often refrain from proclaiming Jesus?
- Perhaps we’re far too influenced by post-modern thinking? In a gross simplification, the post-modern attitude celebrates many ‘truths’, but rejects the idea of an ultimate ‘Truth’. It’s fine to mention to friends that you are a Christian. It’s rather impolite to suggest that what you believe is right and that some other beliefs are wrong. We might consider it inconvenient in this day and age that Jesus didn’t give us an option to say to the world, “My friends, whatever you believe is just fine.” Rather, He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father, but that it is by me.”
- Perhaps we’re worried that we’ll be associated with people who behave badly? Every so often, we come across ‘evangelists’ who act in a way that misrepresents Christ and Christians. What if the person we’re speaking to has already heard a twisted version of our message? What if the person we’re talking to has been hurt by a previous messenger?
- Perhaps we’re awkward about mentioning repentance? If we do manage to engage in conversation about Jesus, our words rightly focus on love, reconciliation, wisdom. The problem is that the Bible shows us time and again that urging people to repent is a crucial element of sharing the Good News. In Acts, we read that Peter’s amazing first sermon concluded in this manner:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” (Acts 2:37-40)
Any person hearing the Good News without hearing the ‘Bad News’ about their need to repent might very reasonably ask, “Why do I need Jesus?”
These are simply my suggestions and they’re far from exhaustive. I’m sure that each Christian would be able to give a list of excuses for our periodic failure to do what Jesus asked us to do:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Whatever excuses we give, we must remember, before Christ, that they are just excuses. The truth about Jesus is far bigger than any current era, trend or fashion. The message is more important than the messenger. Repentance is a crucial first step and not something that can be omitted or skimmed over.
In fact, repentance is more than just a crucial first step; it must also be part of our personal prayers when we fail to go and tell about Jesus.