13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17; NKJV)
There are a lot of reasons we might not take an opportunity to share Jesus with others. It is a very real challenge for all of us who are followers of Jesus. We put up walls for not sharing with others who have yet to hear or obey the Gospel. I think if we are honest, fear of rejection or fear of harm can be very real reasons for this. An opportunity presents itself and we find different reasons for why we didn’t have the courage to act and a lot of times it can be that we are afraid of what others will think of us.
We all want others to think well of us and I believe this is a natural emotion and/or desire and is not inherently bad. What becomes troublesome is when we put that desire over the desire of God for us to share with others the good news of His Son regardless of the negative outcomes it might create in our relationships or lives.
This letting what others think or fear of harm are not new stumbling blocks for those who follow Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus because of those around him (Matthew 26:69-75). Several followed Jesus while he was on earth, but they did so secretly for fear of others (John 19:38). However, our salvation comes through our willingness to take a public stand for our Lord (Romans 10:9-10). It is unfortunate that some people value their position with men more than their position with God.
When you take stock of your evangelism in the workplace, your neighborhood, with strangers or any other aspect of your life, do you see more missed opportunities than opportunities taken advantage of? Have you considered why this is? Could it be you are worrying more about what others might think of you or a temporary discomfort (physically or emotionally) you will face if you share Jesus with them? I know that I am guilty of these things. I know that I have missed opportunities because my perspective was on me rather than the soul of another and eternal hope provided by Jesus.
Jesus was severely mistreated and still He fulfilled all His Father gave Him to do. We, too, will be mistreated for continuing the work Jesus has given us to do but we should not fear man because God is watching over us (Matthew 10:24-31).
Be ready to give an account and a defense for the hope of Jesus in your life. Know that God is ready to stand with you in this. God is for us. God is for them. Lets focus on God and maybe we can get of our own way and give others the opportunity to get out their own way too.