Welcome to Part 2 of our series: The Dos and Don’t s of evangelization. In part 1, we discussed 5 main Dos when evangelizing. There are a lot more Dos in my book, Why do we believe in God?, but let’s get into some of the Don’ts, because these are equally important and they’re so necessary. They will keep you from effectively evangelizing and spreading the faith. They will keep you from bringing people home to the Church.
So many people get frustrated and beat their head up against walls saying, why are these people so stubborn? Why won’t they come into the Church? I’ve been evangelizing for years, and I haven’t really made any progress with anyone. Well, that’s probably because you’re doing it wrong. It’s not just about the right arguments. It’s about how you say it, and the way you go about it, the way you present yourself, the humility and the charity you have behind your arguments.
Tip #1: So, the first Don’t then, of course, is don’t be prideful. Don’t look down on other people as being less than you, as being wrong or as being silly heretics. And maybe, you know, some of these things are true. Maybe they are wrong. Maybe the argumentation isn’t good. But if you have an air of pride and sassiness, and you look down on others. They’re going to be able to feel that, and you are going to push them away. They’re not going to want to trust you. They’re not going to want to believe you and come closer to the faith.
So, we want to remove the obstacles that people have, the impediments that they have to come closer to God and to come closer to our Church. And that comes through not being prideful, angry, sassy, judgmental in condemning them. This is what many fundamentalists do to us. Don’t they say: You Catholics are all evil, you’re all heretics, you’re going to Hell, I can’t wait until you burn?
You are not going to win anybody ever over, using those techniques and those tactics. That’s not what Christ did. He would never do such a thing. Paul would never stoop to such a level. But yet we do many times, and we have to raise the caliber of our apologetics.
Tip #2: This leads us to our second Don’t, which I just mentioned is don’t get angry. Don’t get heated. Don’t get frustrated when the more we do that, the more it’s about us, the more we think they’re not listening to us. It’s not about you. It’s just about planting seeds, whether they listen or not.
I have had even recently, several times over people coming up to me saying, on Catholic truth here: I used to be one of those Catholic haters, I was the one yelling and screaming at you, but you were really kind to me. Or I was one of the people who just fought you at every turn. But you gave me good convincing arguments. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I’ve seen some other things that convinced me, and now I’m coming into the Catholic Church. I’m actually in RCIA.
So, some of the most hardened cases are coming home to the Catholic Church because we took time to deal with their doubts, their questions, their animosity.
Many times, people don’t want to come to the Church. They don’t think it’s true and they come kicking and screaming, and that doesn’t mean we need to kick and scream back. It just means we need to love them more, be humble more, and give better arguments rather than laughy faces and sass in its.
So don’t get angry. It’s not about you. It’s about Christ. And the more we get angry, the less it’s going to help the situation. The more we stay calm, cool, and collected, we are doing what Christ did and we’re showing love, patience, kindness, i.e., the good fruits of the Spirit that it mentions in Galatians 5.
Tip# 3: The next Don’t is to remember that your actions speak louder than words, so don’t do anything that Christ wouldn’t want you to do. Don’t do anything that Paul or Peter, the true evangelists, Teresa of Avila, John of the cross, St. Francis de Sales who won 60,000 Protestants back to the Catholic faith, would not do.
You can read their stories and how he did it. We actually have a whole video on St. Francis de Sales methods and spirituality, on our YouTube Channel.
They were super humble, super kind, super gentle. So don’t do anything that Christ would not want you to do because that’s only going to go against the goals that you want in your life. The desire to bring these people home in your life.
So many people just get into fights with their family, with their friends, with their loved ones, their spouses, and they’re arguing and beating heads over the faith. That’s not going to bring people home. What’s going to bring people home is loving them and being patient with them taking their time.
Evangelization is a slow process. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes kindness. It takes saying, you don’t want to come closer to the Church? you’re not really buying my argument now? That’s fine. I’ll pray for you. If you have any more questions, let’s talk about it. You’re not going to do it by beating heads with people. It doesn’t work that way.
Our examples speak much louder than our words, and I need you to hear that. Your words are not loud compared to your actions. Your words can say one thing, and your actions can say another. They both need to match up, and they both need to be like Christ, because our example speaks volumes.
I brought so many people into the Church just by being a good example. Being joyful and kind, even when they’re yelling and screaming at me. And even when they wouldn’t listen to my arguments and I thought all my arguments failed, and then they come back to me and say, I’ve been thinking about it, I think you’re right. Or, I was wrong on this aspect, or I want to become Catholic, how can I do that?
It happens a lot more than you think once you start doing these things the right way.
Tip # 4: The last (tip) I’ll mention, and of course, there are more in the book, is don’t try to do the impossible! Don’t try to convert people that are impossible to convert. I mean, some people are unstable. They’re not mentally fit, and they don’t talk in a rational way. They present nonsense. All the stuff they attack you with, is just something going on inside of them, and sometimes we just can’t reason with people. We are not the people who are supposed to get through to them in their life.
Sometimes just because we can’t evangelize someone, does not mean that we should, and in fact, God might have someone else, he’s going to use to get through to them. So, we should always be praying, especially for discernment. God, do you want me to speak to this person? If so, when? How? And in what way?
These are crucial questions. The more we are open to the Holy Spirit, the more he can work in our life every day.
I used to pray for many years. Lord, Holy Spirit, there’s someone you need me to talk to lead me today, please to them. If there’s someone who needs to know your truth, please lead me to them. And almost every day I’d be having a conversation with someone about the faith, and it was wonderful.
But at other times, I’ve spoken to people who are nonsensical. For instance, you only can go by the King James version of the Bible. And I would ask really?! Their answer would be: Yes. If it’s not in the King James version, then it’s not true. Well, can you show me where in the King James version it says that. If it has to be in the Bible, where does it say that we should only go by the Bible and where does it say we should only go by the King James version of the Bible? And we went around and around, and they literally just kept saying: You only can go by the King James Bible. Again, I would argue: Where does it say that in the Bible? And they would repeat the same statement. This person is not capable or capable of having a real intellectual discussion, which is why they just repeat things.
I got into conversations with Orthodox. In fact, I’ve hardly ever encountered an Orthodox Church goer online, who’s actually nice. Maybe one, or two. They yell, they scream, they condemn Catholics being heretics, people of evil, freaks who are going to Hell and you can’t have a conversation with them.
Why beat your head against walls with people who don’t want to listen in the first place, who aren’t open to listening, who just hate. Yes, you can try a little bit, but if you’re keep beating your head against a wall and they’re just arguing in circles.
Some lady was saying that the Pope is a heretic and evil and the Catholic Church is evil. I said, Jesus started the Catholic Church and she replied: No, the Catholic Church started in like 500s. There were like 50 popes before the 500s. How could that be? She replied that I don’t know History. That’s just papal history. The real history is that the Popes didn’t start until the 500s and the Catholic Church started in the 500s. I said: But you can look in an encyclopedia that’s not Catholic history. She answered: But the Catholic Church gave them the history they wanted to be put in there, so they could deceive people!
This is not even intellectual or rational. This lady probably has some other issues going on in her life, but we went around for 20 minutes, and I didn’t get any further than I was with this lady when I first started talking to her because she wasn’t open to Truth.
So, you can leave the heavy lifting to God and ask him to put someone else in their life, who can get through to them.
In another way, sometimes people treat us like a doormat, and we don’t need to be treated like a doormat. Sometimes, even people in our family make fun of us constantly or degrade us for our faith and it is not our jobs to convert evil people. It is our job to pray for them, and if God calls to, to deal with them. But we do not have to always be putting ourselves in these situations where we are going to be hurt or wounded or where people are going to abuse us in some way. We can pray for them, or we can fast for them. That’s what the saints did for many people that would not listen to them or who attack them in some way.
These are only some tips on how to evangelize we wanted to share. Our book: Why do we believe in God? is not only designed, to teach what to say and the arguments to state but how to say it. And in the book, you can also find many interjectory notes to teach you how to evangelize which is just as important.
There are so many people doing it the wrong way. I know I have failed so many times during my evangelization path, trying to make it about me and not about Christ. So, please share this article with anyone who might need to read it.