When Is Enough, Enough? (ATP)
Is it wrong to give up on a friend that you have been trying so hard to help? It seems like they just do not want it. I know it is our job to help people get saved. When is enough, enough?
Great question, when is enough, enough? The heart of every born again believer should be to help see as many people come to Jesus as they possibly can. Sometimes the most frustrating thing is witnessing to people, only to have them reject you time and time again. Many of us have been there, many times.
The first thing to remember is that we do not get anyone saved, that is solely the job of the Holy Spirit. Jesus paid for the right to be saved but we are told in John 16:8, that the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts people of sin. That’s not our job! Before we determine when to give up, we should make sure we’ve first done our part. There is not a spelled out process to leading someone to the Lord. Sure there is a process but it is not something you can write down in steps, it must come from the heart.
As with all things in our walk we have to start with the most important reason for getting someone saved. This reason should be love. I’m not talking about just because you affectionately love them, but true Biblical Godlike love. After all, we were not saved because God felt anything. On the contrary the Bible says, “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He had no natural affection but was moved by His love.
1 Corinthians 13 is the great love chapter. In it we find the very principles of true Godly love. Though I’m not going to hit all points of love, we should all familiarize ourselves with these scriptures for they are the very foundation of all we do and all we are as Christians. I do want to focus on a few aspects of it, though. Love is patient, kind, and long-suffering. These should be clear attributes of our personality whenever we are trying to help someone find the Lord. Notice the first word, patient. To help someone find the truth we must first realize that they do not know the truth.
Especially if they are older, they have spent a significant amount of time without the truth. This fact alone will tell us conversion will probably not be instantaneous. We also have to understand that a “religious” background doesn’t necessarily mean anything either. Patience therefore is imperative on the part of the believer witnessing. The reason kindness is so important is because this is something by and large that the world doesn’t understand and what I mean is understand over time. It’s easy to be kind for a moment but what about as you patiently talk with someone over months or years and they still reject you? See, though we may think they are being obstinate, the truth is they know that it’s not enjoyable to be rejected. When someone is rejected for a long time and yet their kindness never changes, this speaks volumes to those people. People can be moved at the realization that though they’ve rejected you so much, your love and gentleness doesn’t cease. We suffer long with people because of this. That is exactly what being Christlike is.
When to give up has layers too. If a person flat rejects it and gets mad that you even mention it, you probably need to stop. However, if I feel there is still some sort of open door I will still approach it, but do so gently. Christians, we MUST be self aware. Possibly one of the biggest problems with our sweet people is that we lack self awareness. Once I was witnessing to a few people at work. I was getting pretty proud of myself for my elaborate dissertations to what I was sure was a captive audience. I witnessed for quite a while before I realized that one who listened so intently was just waiting for me to do something they needed. They didn’t appreciate the lecture of my faith, but quite the opposite, they were ticked! I wasn’t self aware at all!
The key to witnessing is following the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in 1 John 2:20 that we have an unction and we know all things and in Colossians 3:15, to let the peace of God rule in your hearts. One version says, “Act as umpire continually.” Self awareness and awareness of God’s Spirit will ensure we don’t get out of line. I know a man who goes to the beach and awkwardly walks up to people and gives them weird pieces of paper with obscure scriptures about things they won’t understand, while telling them they are going to hell. How many people do you think are drawn in by this method? As a Christian who proclaims Christ, this makes me uncomfortable!
So when do you give up? When they either flat out reject you, or you realize they just couldn’t care less. Be self aware, be Spirit aware, and follow the peace in your heart. Forcing our way in never works. If God wouldn’t do it, we shouldn’t either. I want to end with this final principle. If we are witnessing to someone continually we should be praying for them as well. Pray for their eyes to be opened and command satan to take his hands off them. Also, you must remember, not all people we witness to will take us up on our offering. In fact, most will not but this should not deter us from finding the ones who will!