How was your Easter weekend? I loved every minute of mine. Beautiful weather, flowers blooming outside, great message from my pastor, and of course you can’t beat the brunch my mom whipped up at her house afterwards. I wonder if the video of my Dad hopping around in the Easter bunny costume will ever go viral. On second thought, maybe I’ll keep that for myself. 🙂
So, I was driving home from my folks house on Sunday when the new Matthew West song came on the radio. If you listen to K-Love, you’ve probably heard it. Check it out if you haven’t:
It made me wonder … how many times have I balked at doing something? How many times have I played it safe? Did I ever have the opportunity to reach out when I held back? Was there ever an opening to spread the most perfect love ever when I favored sitting in my comfort zone? This ticked me off. Granted, as of recent I have been doing much better, but what about the past? What about all those times I kept quiet?
What keeps us quiet? Is it fear of rejection? Fear of what others will think of us if we reach out to them? That was me. I didn’t want to be labeled a Jesus Freak, Bible banger, or whatever negative word comes to mind. I’ve heard them all. Heck, I once was that critic, so some of those words even exited my mouth on certain occasions. But that was the me of the past. God has changed me, and now I know I’m okay with being a Christian.
We should be proud of our faith! Who gives a care in the world what others think. Earthly opinions are so miniscule to what God sees in us. You may have some non-believer smirk at you for speaking truth to them as they go back to their worldly living. They may refuse the message, but keep in mind that old cliché that you are only a messenger. Don’t hate on the messenger; hate on the one who sent the messenger, right? And if they are hating God, as sad as that may be, the answer there is prayer. Pray for them! Christ modeled this on the cross, praying for the Roman soldiers. Steven did likewise in Acts as he was being stoned for his faith.
People, most of us are not being stoned right now for our beliefs. Granted, in other countries missionaries face this in reality, but most of us here in the United States are simply going to be persecuted verbally. I don’t know about you, but I can take that. Have I lost friendships? To be honest, yes. I know some colleagues in my workplace have distanced themselves from me for that reason. Don’t get too close to him; he’s gone crazy. Had some crazy religious experience last year that made him get a tattoo of a cross on his upper shoulder with his baptism date below it. He’s off the deep end.
Am I going to let these thoughts stop me? Not at all. Do they hurt? Sure. I’m only human. I want to be loved and accepted just like any other person, but do you know whose thoughts mean more to me than human acceptance? Do you know what I care about the most? More than any worldly wisdom? God. His thoughts. His acceptance. I’m ashamed it took me so long to realize this, but better late than never. Right?
I am going to finish this race with a flourish. How about you? What are you going to do about your friends who are non-believers? If they are truly friends, don’t you care enough about them to share Christ’s love? If they don’t receive your message, God’s message, at the very least you can pray for God’s timing. Maybe keeping them at a distance is best for the time being. Maybe talking to them down the road after your first try failed is what’s best.
I have quite a few people in that category, one of whom is very close to me. I wonder how I will approach that person as her stubbornness is overwhelming at times, but I know God is whispering to me that it is okay. That person hasn’t been to Easter services in 18 years since her mother died. Can I feel her pain? You’re darn right I can. It hurts! Memories are all too thick. But when I hear her say that God understands her absence, I want to scream out no! God can certainly understand for a while, but for the rest of your life? For the most glorious comeback ever? This is a day we deserve to rejoice in the resurrection!
It is rather convicting when I ask myself this question … how much longer will I remain quiet? How much longer will I let this woman, whom by the way is VERY close to me, suffer? I need to talk with her. I need to show her something about God’s truth, but I keep quiet. I am too content with my own comfort zone to witness to her. And yes, it does scare me. My greatest fear of this situation? My greatest fear is that she would feel like I was pointing a judgmental finger at her as opposed to reaching out to her in love.
Still, I have ignored God’s whisper for the longest time. And I’m tired of it! I am praying right now for God’s timing, for the right opportunity to quietly reach out to her in love. I wish to teach her about what our God wants from her before she goes, and it would crush me if she were to pass before I had this opportunity. If she were to go tomorrow, I am not even sure I would see her in heaven when God tells me one day that my time has expired. Ponder that one. It hurts.
Who is yours? Who do you need to talk to? If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Do something.
I will be praying for her heart to be soft. Holy Spirit, by your power touch this woman with faith.