When you think of evangelization, do you think of someone standing on their soapbox, condemning everyone who doesn’t believe or act the way they think they should? Whether literal or figurative, I think this is the way that many people see evangelization.
The problem I have with that approach is that it is generally based on fear. Fear of people who believe differently, and promoting fear of damnation in people who don’t follow the beliefs that they are being told to follow.
I don’t think this was ever Jesus’ intent. Even the famous John 3:16 is focused on the saving part, not the damning part. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” In fact, it goes on, just in case you missed it. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)
I thought of this as I read a prayer for conversion:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”
This is the focus of true evangelization. Not to condemn others, but to draw them to belief, adoration, hope, and love. It’s easy to turn away from the first approach, but it’s almost compelling to turn to the second, don’t you think?