” When you pass and come back to let me know that I am not on the list to get into heaven then I will have a problem with my life and do some things differently “
Such heartbreaking words. Heartbreaking because they were received by a sister in Christ, from her sister in the world. Such bitter, angry, words…from the unknowing, from the natural, and the carnal.
We are all called to tell of the love of Christ. We are to make concentrated, purposeful efforts to reach those around us. — Our friends, our neighbors, our daily contacts, but perhaps the hardest ears to hear continue to be our blood relatives.
Why is it that we can reach a perfect stranger, and yet the ones with relationships spanning 18+ years are offended with the gospel?
In my parent’s house growing up, we said what was on our mind. Whether it be good or bad, words just spilled out, sometimes causing more harm than good, and served as constant evidence of the state of our hearts.
Family, the ones who supposedly “have” to love you, seem to also be the ones who refuse to hear what you’ve got to say.
When we were young and disagreed, Mom or Dad just stepped in and assumed control over the situation, siding with one of us, or perhaps drawing us to neutral ground. Many an argument was resolved simply because of our parent’s role in authority.
Now that we are all grown up, our thoughts and words tend to cut to the heart, being outside the influence of a mediator.
But!…one of us is right, huh? And!…one of us is wrong! Which one is it?
In matters of a spiritual kind, only One can be right and His name is Jesus.
Christians are commanded to reach the world with Christ’s message. This includes friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintences, AND family members.
Unfortunately, too many times our families take the message and construe it as “judgmental”, thus sparking raging debate and personal conflicts. The message is convicting, and really IS judgmental if you think about it, and the “messenger” gets the brunt of satan’s attempt at continuing the control over the family member’s life.
What do we do then? It pierces the heart to receive such distressing words penned by someone you love so dearly.
Do we do as the sister said and place duct tape over our mouths so as to avoid further conflict? Do we leave the situation alone after failed attempts at bringing our family to knowledge?
It is easier to duck and hide. It is easier to pretend that all our family’s sinful pleasures are “their business” and not our own. For the sake of peace, we often “chalk” up the whole issue saying, “Well, I tried”, and then cling to hope that something will one day change.
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 2:14
Our unsaved family members consider our gospel message as foolishness. Perfectly happy in their present state, life is considered “good” as it is, without any regard for their eternal future.
The Holy Spirit is the One who can handle this whole matter. He, in the timing only God knows, will draw them out of their confusion, offering the water of life as they have never tasted before.
Then and only then it will be that they remember the seed planted when their sister, brother, mother, father, aunt, uncle, or grandparent spilled heart tears grieving for their soul.
We are vulnerable, yes. We risk the very relationship that we seek so desperately to save — but we must continue on.
Recently, I read about an “internet cure” for warts. My son has developed a wart on his knee, and in doing some research, I discovered that duct tape is apparently good for treatment of some warts. Apparently, if you keep duct tape on a wart for six out of seven days, over a few months, the adhesive in the tape will cause the deterioration of the wart and it will disappear.
Knowing what the doctor’s cure is, I decided that the first course of action would be to try the home remedy. So…I bought the tape, applied it to his knee and kind of laughed, thinking, “Duct tape is good for everything”, right?”
Well, within 30 minutes, my son came running up to me saying, “Momma, the wart tape felled off!”
“What?” “The wart tape felled off?”
Sure enough, looking down at his knee was the wart, uncovered, with not even a bit of glue from the adhesive on the tape!
So…..I reapplied another piece and waited.
Sure enough, here he came again….”Momma, the wart tape is gone!”
(ugh)….”This is unbelievable!” So I applied it again. And again. And then with a band-aid over the top of it. Then again with two band-aids. Finally, I added an ace bandage over the top of it, which still, to this day, keeps falling off! (double ugh!)
What I discovered in this process is….no matter how many times I applied the duct tape, it still would not stick to human skin! No matter what I do, the duct tape still comes off, revealing the big ole’ wart underneath.
This new piece of knowledge can be applied in a more spiritual sense. When we have tried to share the gospel to unwilling ears, many times we tend to back away from the situation, resolved that we’ve done our job. We apply the duct tape to our mouths, attempting to hold in the truth, all for the sake of relationships.
When it hurts, when it complicates an already delicate bond, when it produces painful words and isolation because of the truth, we want to make the hurting stop. So we apply the tape, just wanting the whole situation to be over.
The problem with this is that Christ continually calls us as Christians to continue giving the message. He peels the tape back, dissolves the bond of omission, and prompts us to keep trying.
Not in a “beat-them-in-the-face” manner, but with love, and continued knowledge that truth is truth, and the foolishness of unbelief is no match for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He is the Victor, the One in whom all happiness, peace, and eternal life rests. We want our families to know this, and with the encouragement and admonition of the Holy Spirit, we open our mouths again to pray, to gently lead, or sometimes to boldly proclaim again the opportunity for eternal life.
What we know is that duct tape doesn’t stick to human skin, and neither will it stick to a mouth commissioned and enabled to reach others for Christ.
So….I encourage you to remain in prayer for your loved ones. Seek every opportunity to show them God’s love, for you may never know when their heart is ripened by the Holy Spirit and primed for an eternal response.
I leave you with something I found today. May your efforts always remain evangelistic, furthering the kingdom of God, and producing fruit of bountiful measure.
What is Evangelism?
[from The Sword of the Lord by John R. Rice]
It is the sob of God.
It is the anguished cry of Jesus as He weeps over a doomed city.
It is the cry of Paul, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to my flesh.”
Evangelism is the heart-wringing plea of Moses, “Oh, this people have sinned…yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin…; if not, blot me I pray Thee, out of the book which Thou hast written.”
It is the cry of John Knox, “Give me Scotland or I die.”
It is the declaration of John Wesley, “The world is my parish.”
It is the prayer of Billy Sunday, “Make me a giant for God.”
It is the sob of a parent in the night, weeping over a prodigal child.
It is the secret of a great church.
It is the secret of a great preacher and of a great Christian!