WOH: Selfish Ambition Disguised as Evangelism

I watched a video of a woman sitting down with two college students. Her intent was to share the gospel. They recorded their conversation. She clearly desired them to believe but her main tactics used were shame and pressure. In essence, her pitch was, “I am so happy and holy, and you are not.”  

The students not only rejected her message but also felt offended and mistreated.  

It’s amazing how an absolute certainty of being right coupled with the competitive drive to “win” converts not only makes us unloving but prideful and toxic.  

I recognize this in myself. I was incredibly zealous at times with people about faith. As I analyze this, I see my true motivation had some elements of beautiful truth and love for God, but my zeal also had selfish ambition and lack of love.  

I remember feeling so angry at a family member for not believing. My frustration became the tonality of our conversations.  

I see this with any crucible of life. How do we try and persuade, influence, or “convert” people to our point of view? 

I admired my dad for how he interacted with people about faith. I think because he experienced the ugly side of evangelism, the harassing and pressuring, the judgment and false piety, he was patient, gentle, and did not try to “win” anyone. 

Instead, Dad tried to be present and loving in the dialogue. He often connected in an empathetic way with someone on a different life journey. He never let his ambition for conversion supersede his compassion and faith that God is at work through him – an instrument of God’s love and grace – not a hammer but a light.  

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. –  Philippians 2:3