Since the toilet paper scare of 2020, Aldi began buying paper products from other providers in addition to their normal ones and, very quickly, became immensely overstocked in paper products. After cramming the small back room full of towers of toilet paper and paper towel in dozens of brands, corporate finally let us put them on sale to clear out the extra.
We put them out on the sales floor dirt cheap. Quality toilet paper was selling in 4-roll packs for 49 cents each. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal!
Obviously, I stocked up for myself. Then I bought a supply for my family. Then for my boyfriend. Then I proceeded to tell others I knew about the fantastic deal. Toilet paper and paper towel is something everyone needs. Aldi wanted to get rid of it and my friends were going to use it–what a win win to share with the world!
Was I embarrassed to share this good deal with the people in my life? No. I’ll admit I laughed at myself when others laughed at me, but what’s a little laughing in the face of some fantastic savings?!
Why is it so easy to tell those around me about a fantastic toilet paper deal, but so hard to share about a free salvation deal that I also know about? I don’t mind looking a little goofy to spread the good news about toilet paper, but how awkward it is to share the good news about salvation?
I think it’s because of the stigma. Christians have earned a reputation for beating others over the head with a Bible, and judging people into the faith with stories of damnation to hell. We’re known for our “I know what you need more than you do, and for your sake, I will continue to shove it down your throat!” approach. Motivated more by our hate for sinners than our love for those around us.
And when I focus on this stigma, I’m rather put off from evangelizing. Which, in some ways, I think is a good thing. Traditional evangelizing doesn’t go over so well in our generation. Our generation has already had a million and a half things shoved down their throats through constant advertising and this approach isn’t so very effective to us younger folks.
At the same time, if we really do have the good news, what does it mean to not share it? Penn Jillette, a well known atheist, made this hard-cutting point: “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
When I found the toilet paper deal, I didn’t work hard to manipulate the topic of every conversation toward the direction of toilet paper, in order to “win over” the masses. I didn’t go out on the street and yell at people, telling them if they didn’t make the most of this deal, they were money-wasting idiots. However, when the opportunity arouse, I also didn’t hesitate to smile a bit of a dorky smile, and share the good news I had found.
What if we start sharing the gospel the same way we share about other good news we stumble across? Not with manipulation or force, not with judgment or attacks, but simply with a goofy smile, when God surfaces the opportunity, and with the knowledge that it is not our job to save people–only to share the deal we ourselves have embraced.
Our God is not a manipulative God. And the message we share about salvation can stand on it’s own two feet. We are called to share the good news–not to force the good news, nor to attack with the good news.
By now the cheap toilet paper and paper towels might be sold out. But the gift of salvation isn’t. You’re welcome to look into that deal more and I’d be happy to offer reviews on my experience with my faith (comments on my posts are always appreciated!). I care about you, so I share my gospel with you. Like with the toilet paper, you can choose to take it or leave it but know that my love for you requires that I at least say something when the opportunity arises.
“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”