The Aussie rugby star facing the sack for his Instagram comments
Matt Danswan

Matt Danswan

Let me start this post by saying that rugby union is in my top two sports, so it is a sport that is very close to my heart.

When I read this article that Australian rugby union pin-up boy, Israel Folau, was being heavily criticized for his comments on Instagram, I immediately knew why.

Folau, stated, “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent. Only Jesus saves.

“Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

Firstly, being a top football player earning millions of dollars a year doesn’t give you the right to tell people – without them asking – that they are going to hell.

Secondly, Israel Folau may in fact be right, but this is a lesson on how not to use social media to either share your faith or evangelize. To his massive following, there was only one way that this post was going to go, and that was bad. And he has been hammered over the last 24 hours, with calls to tear up his contract.

In his defense, I can see that he wants to use his stature to share the Gospel and do more than just play rugby, but he just needs some advice on how best to do this.

My wife and I actually have many friends who are not Christians. I am not sure why, but I think it is because we both love and accept people for who they are, and potentially they sense something in us that draws them in. But what we will never do is tell them they are going to hell, nor judge them.

We need to love people into the Kingdom, not judge them, tell them they are going to hell, and then think that this will win them over.

If Israel happened to sit down with me and ask my opinion before he wrote this post (and don’t worry, I don’t think that highly of myself that I believe he would seek me out), I would be the first to say that this post is going to cause more trouble than it is worth. Not only that, but it’s not how you win people to God.

Israel’s football skills are simply God-given. His platform to influence for God is massive. This is a lesson for all of us that we need to be very careful that we don’t use social media to judge the world. It’s actually God’s job, not ours, to determine where people are going. A ‘heaven and hell’ chat is something done best one on one, and when people show interest. To jump up and tell people they are on their way to hell – well, this is simply asking for trouble.

It’s your actions that will draw more people to God, and hence the Bible tells us that “we are the salt of the earth.”

Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of My Christian Daily. He also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com. His new book NOT Business As Usual documents the story of the building of Initiate Media debt-free.

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