Why are you the one who is ashamed?

Have you ever gone home after a long time out, looked in the mirror and found that you had something in your teeth?

I once came home after a full day out and found something green in my teeth. Immediately I began thinking about all my so-called friends who had to have seen this forest growing in my mouth and said nothing!

I mean the “friend” I had lunch with who was a witness to the catastrophe happening decided that he was more embarrassed to tell me I had a forest growing between my teeth than for me to have the forest in my teeth for the rest of the day!

All jokes aside this is the feeling I get when someone tells me that they’re afraid or embarrassed to share the Gospel!

You’re not the one with the problem! You’re the one with the solution to the problem!

A simple reading of scripture will show you just how “shameful” the condition of the unbeliever is. 

Ephesians 2:1-3 describes a group of dead men who are making their way towards hell.

2 Timothy 2:26 describes people who are out of their senses, and like a dog on a leash being carried around by the Devil himself!

And we look at people who are in this terrible condition and we are the ones who act embarrassed! Obviously, Paul doesn’t point this out to us for mocking purposes, rather he does so to elicit compassion in our hearts. But it is remarkable that we can know this is their spiritual condition and yet, look at them and talk to them with shame in our hearts.

I think that 2 Timothy 2:25 and Romans 1:18 are sister verses. Obviously, they are written by the same person. But it is notable to me how they are perfect mirrors of each other. Because they both explain in slightly different terms the reason why people will not believe the Gospel. 

2 Timothy 2:25 tells us what people are missing. Right before telling us that they are controlled by the devil as we saw earlier in verse 26, It says, 

…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.

In other words, Paul says that the evangelist shares the Gospel, with the hope that God would grant the listener repentance. Then the repentant sinner will come to the knowledge of the truth. It’s not truth first then repentance. It’s not convincing evidence that God exists then repentance. It is God granting the person new eyes to see the horror of their sin and then they will believe the truth. 

Paul says to Timothy that in order to become a Christian a person needs God to grant them repentance.

The reason they will not believe, the reason that they are “out of their senses” and in the grip of the devil (2 Tim. 2:26) is that they love their sin and won’t repent.

Romans 1:18 similarly tells us that unbelievers know that God exists but suppress the truth in unrighteousness. 

Sin is the reason they are unwilling and unable to recognize the clear existence of God. They are “out of their senses” because of how intoxicating sin is for them. 

This is a shocking situation. But sadly, we forget just how terrible their situation is. We get caught up in life, moving from meeting to meeting, from sports practice to sports practice, crossing paths with folks all around us, who are “out of their senses” and on the “leash of the devil” and we are too embarrassed to let them know how they can be saved. 

I say it again, we don’t mock. If anything, we cry. But we must not live life as if this is not the situation we find ourselves in. We are surrounded by people who are under the wrath of God. Who are on the precipice of hell. And the reason that they are is because they desperately love their sin and do not want to give it up. 

It is silly then, or even better, it is blindingly asinine for the believer to be the one who is ashamed. I don’t mean to offend you. But it is time to for us to really ask ourselves what we believe. Do we believe what the Bible says about the condition of the people around us?

A clear understanding of this will lead us to humility and not pride. Humility because not only were we in the same condition that they are currently in, but because we recognize that it is God is His rich mercy that grants Repentance (2 Tim. 2:25). We would not believe if it weren’t for God’s mercy to open our eyes, either directly through his word, or through some faithful preacher who unashamedly declared the truth to us. 

The next time you see someone with something in their teeth put yourself in their shoes, let them know there’s a forest growing there. More importantly the next time you are tempted to selfishly be ashamed of the Gospel, picture the unbeliever the way the Bible presents them, as the ones who are under the wrath of God and who are the only ones who should be ashamed, and gently and with humility warn them about their condition without any shame.

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