Please Don’t Preach To Me

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As our car inched its way to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, I felt like we were in a scene from the movie Argo.  Except there were no guns.  Or no real threat of danger for that matter.  Four of us rode in the shelter of our car through what felt like mobs and mobs of people, and everything looked foreign.

Loud music blared from tailgaters while celebratory laughter and conversation dodged in and out.  Swarms of race fans made their way by foot from a mile away.  Street corners boasted ticket scalpers as our car moved an inch at a time to our parking section.

A voice coming through a loudspeaker caused me to strain my eyes through the crowd to see where it was coming from.  A man holding a microphone pacing back and forth.  A lady sitting in a chair to his side.  Tall speakers surrounding them like a hedge of protection.

The inflection of his voice hinted to his message.  The rise and fall of his words, the passion that gave rise to the words. His motives were pure, I’m sure.  His method?  Well, it didn’t draw me in.  Not only did his words not draw me in, they did the exact opposite.  They caused me to cringe in my seat.  To sink a little lower into the leather and want to hide my face.

As race fans rolled their coolers past his makeshift stage, his wagging finger and booming voice spoke of rules and not relationship. I never saw one person stop to hear the message he really wanted to share. The message that Jesus came and died for them.  The message that they are loved and cherished.  The message He came to save.  Maybe he gave that message as well.  I only heard a couple of minutes of his sidewalk sermon.

I can relate to the ones rolling the coolers down the sidewalk.  A wagging finger never brought me closer.  It made me hide my face and turn away in shame.  But in His lovingkindness, He brought ones to me that didn’t wag a finger in my face and tell me where I’d burn if I didn’t turn away.  Instead He brought the ones that told me of the place He was preparing for me and how One came to die so that I could be there with Him one day.  They told of a love that was irresistible.  It didn’t scream at me that I was a failure.  It whispered, “I know this life is hard and temptation is great.  So I’ve come to conquer it, so you can live in my power, not yours, and experience victory.  Because I love you.”

When Jesus walked this earth, He didn’t wag fingers and guilt people towards Him.  His love did all the work.  He spoke in parables to communicate His messages.  People were drawn to his stories.  They found their place in the words He spoke.  They saw who they were in his stories.  His stories spoke love, redemption, kindness, and mercy.  His patience and kindness draws us to him.

The same holds true for the ones in our lives.  Our children, our parents, our friends, our neighbors.  The ones He has placed in our lives.  Our wagging finger will turn them away.  I see it in my kids daily.  When I’m preachy a look comes over their face.  They no longer hear my heart behind the words. They hear the accusing words, and they shut down.  But when I change my tactic, when I draw them in with kindness, hearts soften, ears open, and my words are invited in.

We can learn a lot from the sidewalk preacher and Jesus.  When I parent my boys, I want to be like Jesus, not the sidewalk preacher.  I want to gently draw them to me so they will be drawn to Him.  When I speak to friends and family, I hope they see the patience of Jesus, not an accusing finger.  I can’t think of a single time in my life someone’s wagging finger, accusing position, judgmental tone, or harsh criticism has ever caused a genuine shift in my heart.

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4

How about you?  What are some ways you have felt drawn towards someone because they showed love and kindness?

4 replies
  1. Lori Alexander
    Lori Alexander says:

    Good Morning, Renee! LOVED your post about electronics. It was right on. I don’t completely agree with this post, however. I LOVE being preached at! I love Vodie Baucham, Michael Pearl, Paul Washer, Mark Driscoll, etc. the preachers that challenge and convict me. My marriage didn’t turn around until I read Debi Pearl’s book Created To Be His Help Meet because I needed to be “spanked” for the way I treated my husband. Jesus sure preached to the people in the Sermon on the Mount and in many places. Paul sure exhorts us a ton and preaches Truth to us. Some people respond to hell and damnation type sermons, consider the Great Awakening. We all have different personalities and different likes and preaching is what I like!

  2. Renee
    Renee says:

    Hi Lori,
    Absolutely I agree with you. I in no way am suggesting preaching doesn’t have a place. Every single Sunday I leave church challenged and convicted by the preached message. My point was not preaching a sermon, rather a style of communication that doesn’t work on me and the lesson I can use from that example in communicating with my children. As christians we value the preached word. However, most people I know that have not accepted Christ tend to run from someone who is preachy. Not a preacher, but a preachy person. I don’t want to be that type of person to those around me. And you are right, some people certainly do respond to hell and damnation type sermons. And we are all different which is what makes the world go round 🙂 Blessings! Thanks for reading!

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