As Christians, we know how subtle the enemy (Satan) can be. He often dissuades us from pursuing a relationship with God and tries to convince us to take a break from Christianity for a while, hoping to separate us from Him and lead us to that wide and easy path that leads to death. What we don't expect from the enemy is encouragement to continue witnessing to the lost.
What??? Satan convinces us to continue witnessing? I believe that he does, and here is why I say that. He convinces us to continue witnessing to a resistant soul, someone who is so entangled in the enemy's web that the enemy is convinced he/she will never submit to God. Why would he do this? Think about it. If the enemy can get you to spend your time constantly witnessing to a resistant individual who does nothing but reject God and mock you, then those unsaved individuals out there who are truly seeking the truth will be, for the most part, ignored. Great plan, don't you think?
There are those who eagerly accept the word of God, and there are those who reject it outright. The problem I used to have (and many Christians still have) is that I used to spend a lot of time trying to use the word of God to show people that God is real and that they need to repent of their sin. Unfortunately, the more resistant a person was to receiving the word of God, the more time was taken away from those who were urgently seeking someone to answer their questions about salvation.
Look, Jesus gave us the perfect example on how to deal with non-believers who totally reject who God is.
- Don’t cast your pearls before them (they’re just going to trash the word of God).
- “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6
- Shake the dust off your feet and walk away (if they’re not going to accept the salvation message, move on).
- "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet." Matthew 10:14
- Let the blind lead the blind (if they’re intent on continuing in the same direction, let them go).
them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man
guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew
- “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14
We can’t neglect the rest of the harvest just because of one person. The consequences of that are just too great.
Jesus taught those who wanted to listen. I don’t recall any recorded incident in the bible where Jesus purposely sat down with those who rejected Him and tried to convince them otherwise. Everyone makes that personal decision whether to believe and repent or to deny and remain blissfully ignorant. Who were those who followed Jesus out into the fields and hills? While some were there to mock Him or test Him, the majority were those who wanted to hear what He had to say, to sit under this Prophet's teaching. They were those who thirsted after God.
We must understand that having a human nature means that we take on much more responsibility than God wants us to have. We constantly have to battle that way of thinking. It’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict the sinner, to open his eyes and to change his heart. It’s His responsibility to convince the sinner of who God is. Our job is to share the word of God with those who will listen and to point people to Jesus. If they truly don't have any desire to give their life to God, then we’re to move on, NOT double down and put a more concerted effort and increased time into trying to convince them otherwise.
"That's not loving... we need to fight for them until the very end... how can you call yourself a Christian if you're willing to give up on them so easily? Surely God didn't say..." Can you hear the enemy's voice? He's trying to make us feel guilty for abandoning someone to hell. Don't listen to him. The enemy uses this flaw in Christians to delay them from reaching those who the enemy knows are on the verge of repentance or who have opened their heart enough to begin seeking the truth. He has convinced Christians that we can’t love the sinner if we’re willing to walk away, but that’s a lie. We've been instructed by God to do just that.
For those who have hardened their heart against God, our personal walk with the Lord is our witness. That doesn't mean that we don't pray for all of those who have rejected Him. Our prayers for lost souls is powerful, but let's us not be deceived into believing that our one-on-one witnessing is the only way to witness to these individuals who have a heart of stone.
So what do I suggest? If someone doesn't accept the salvation message, offer to give them some information (tracts) or point them to a specific Christian web site. If they won’t accept the information, then let them know that you’re there for them if they have any questions or if they need prayer. Always share the love of Christ with them through selfless acts and a warm smile. That is a wonderful witness.
The most important thing is to allow God to place you in the harvest field to reap as much fruit as possible before your time here on earth is over. We're called to plant, sow and reap the harvest. We're not called to pull up the tares. We need to leave that to God. Continue to pray for those who have rejected the message of Jesus Christ, but continue even more in pursuing those who are hungry for Him.
Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!