I once heard a professor say, “Tragedy is anything that happens to an unbeliever.” Believers have it better. In fact, all that happens to believers works out for good (Rom 8:28). The unbeliever’s supposed good times, the mercies that he receives which ought to lead him to repentance, will bring him pain. Mercies that are sinned against, augment future punishment. They are temporary mercies, but eternal loss.
Among those who have mercy now are some in our own families without Christ. God has been good to them, regardless of the difficulties they have experienced. They wake up every day, they breathe, enjoy food, friends, work, or whatever makes up the list of good things God provides. “He sends the rain on the just and the unjust.”
Every day that our unbelieving friends and relatives live, they increase their judgment. Since that old line which says, “All sins are the same” is false and easily disproven by Scripture, we hope that they do not commit the worst of sins. But He will judge even every idle word. There will be a day when they will realize that they have rejected a way to be free from guilt, but for now, they are happy in their lifestyles.
What will you do for them? They don’t really want to listen to you. At least it appears to be so. When you have a family gathering, you hope to find that perfect moment to speak to your brother or sister or mom or dad, but it doesn’t seem to work out well most of the time.
Beside prayer, a powerful tool, consider just this one idea. Rather than hope for a moment to come your way, come straightforwardly to the unbelieving friend or relative and ask outright if you can be given one time to meet together to discuss what you have learned about life and Christ. Tell them that you just want to be given one opportunity to talk it out as plainly as possible. After that, if he or she doesn’t want to talk again, you can respect their desire. This, to me, seems a far better way.
Concerning your relatives and friends, I hope you will not let them die without at least that one serious talk about Christ. It makes no difference if you fumble and struggle to express yourself. God can use your efforts in a way that will either bring them to Christ, prepare them for a future beginning with Christ, or, sadly, be another mercy they will reject bringing grief forever. That’s the risk we take.
Copyright © Jim Elliff.
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