Are You Guilty of Gospel Profiling?

We love five-star ratings. If a movie has a five-star rating, we want to see it. If a restaurant has a five-star rating, we want to eat at it. If a product has a five-star rating, we want to buy it. If a hotel has a five-star rating, we want to stay in it.

Unfortunately, sometimes we look at evangelism in the same way as we look at purchases and services. Sometimes we are reticent to share the gospel with people if we judge that they don’t seem to want to hear it. We rate their readiness to hear or even receive the good news. Perhaps that clean living neighbor who loves her children and never cusses has a high rating. Perhaps it’s worth stepping out and talking with her. Perhaps she’s worth the investment. Perhaps that work colleague who always seems angry with the world and treats you like dirt has a low enough rating for you to simply avoid whenever you can.

When we look at people this way, we inadvertently place conditions on the gospel. At least in practice we can unconsciously judge a person’s worthiness to hear the good news. This type of unconscious profiling plagues so many of us and it is not a new phenomenon. We see this type of behavior all through the gospels displayed in the words and actions of the Pharisees who opposed Jesus (Matthew 9:9-13, Luke 15). They could not understand why Jesus would associate with the very sinners that they would avoid.

Understanding the nature of grace is one of the most important concepts for any Christian as we look at every other human being in this world. Grace promotes an indiscriminate attitude toward others. When we understand that we have been saved by grace, we have to place ourselves in the category of the underserving. God had no need of a rating survey to see anything worthy of his investment of shed blood for us. In fact, we all have an infinitely negative-star rating. There is no reason for God to watch our movie, eat at our restaurant, stay in our hotel or by our product. When Christ bled and died for us, he did so for those who had absolutely no merit of their own. “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).

If Christ has saved you, he has saved the undeserving. How can we possibly look at any other human being in this world and require God to expect more in them than he did in us? Grace is the very factor that removes discrimination in evangelism. Let’s therefore do exactly as Jesus says, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15).