Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and many of you will either visit or have family over for the holiday. Celebrating this wonderful occasion is always better when done so with family. Most families have a “no politics or religion” rule so as to avoid any ugly arguments, thereby “ruining the holiday.” There is some wisdom in that rule.
However, as Christians, we are not allowed to keep silent about our faith, even in our hometown. While it does risk rejection and ridicule, the sharing your faith commandment does not come with a “Holidays with the Family” exemption. I understand this can be a perilous adventure, so let me help you with this “delicate” situation. This will apply to any occasion to share with family and neighbors.
First, understand that you are not responsible for anyone’s response to the gospel. Jesus will never question you why Aunt Sally refused to come to Jesus after you told her about Him. Our Lord will ask you why you never took the opportunity to tell her about Him. You see, Jesus experienced the same rejection when He went to his hometown:
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him.” (Mark 6:1-3)
Notice that Jesus’ hometown people did not question the truth of His teachings; they were astonished by it. However, instead of dwelling on what they were being taught, they dwelt on the teacher. Understand that it is common, however frustrating, to have family and friends reject the truth of what you are teaching. They are not rejecting the truth as much they are rejecting your teaching of it. A stranger at the mall would no doubt be better received by them. That is actually a good sign, for you at least. It puts you in good company:
“But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’” (Mark 6:4)
The word prophet in the Greek not only refers to those who wrote the Old Testament, but also to someone who “speaks inspired utterances.” You and I are prophets in that we can speak Holy Spirt-inspired utterances through our testimonies and knowledge of Scripture.
Whenever I share the gospel with someone, my goal is to help them come to the conclusion that they are a sinner in need of a Savior. That is how I got saved; that is how real salvation comes. Commenting about the Nazarenes who rejected Jesus, Matthew Henry writes:
“They could not but own that which was very honourable concerning him. 1. That he spoke with great wisdom, and that this wisdom was given to him, for they knew he had no learned education. 2. That he did mighty works, did them with his own hands, for the confirming of the doctrine he taught. They acknowledged the two great proofs of the divine original of his gospel—the divine wisdom that appeared in the contrivance of it, and the divine power that was exerted for the ratifying and recommending of it; and yet, though they could not deny the premises, they would not admit the conclusion.”
The great frustration we experience when sharing the gospel is knowing that friend, relative, associate, or neighbor did not reject what you taught; they refused to accept it into their own lives. When that happens, your job now is to continue to love them unconditionally and to pray for them unceasingly.
My second recommendation for you as you prepare to meet family members who need Jesus, is to just strike up an authentic conversation with them, ask them how they’re doing, and rely on the Holy Spirit to give you inspired utterances. They will come; you just have to be courageous enough to utter them.
Begin right now to pray for that lost loved one you are going to see in the next day or two. Ask the Lord to prepare his or her heart to receive the gospel. Also ask the Holy Spirit to guide and gird you to say what Jesus would say to them.
Most importantly, do not become angry or frustrated, stop when they want to stop. Remember, you are not responsible for their not admitting the conclusion of their need for Jesus.
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject. You can purchase Dave’s nine devotional books by visiting his Amazon author page.
Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers