When your “ONE” says no

 My one said no. It wasn’t the first time he had said no either.  I had been witnessing to a neighbor of the church for some time.  I had befriended the man by dropping by his house and attempting to spend time with him.  He had always been receptive to my visits and often dialogued with me about the Christian faith, but he remained convinced that Christianity was a fairy tale.

I had led the church to faithfully prepare for a revival meeting.  Before the meeting began, we set attendance goals, conducted in-home prayer meetings, and canvassed the community with flyers.  The members were encouraged to identify a lost person and attempt to bring them to the meeting. My targets were set on the next-door neighbor of the church.

            I believed that all of the time I had spent with him would surely win him over  Our guest speaker was an influential evangelist (who gave powerful messages) and surely would seal the deal.  If I could just get this neighbor to come to the service, I was sure he would be saved!  This neighbor was also well known for his sinful practices and for cheating the poor, so I imagined the talk of the town when this man would become a Christian!  I knew he was going to be saved!

            He had promised to attend one night of the revival meeting, so I arrived early to bring him over to the church.  I could just imagine the faces of shock as the church members saw this man enter into the church building for the first time ever.  He was outside of his house when I approached him.  “It’s time for church,” I said gleefully.  His response was a shocker.  “I’m not going.”  Did I hear him correctly?  Surely he didn’t say what he had just said?  He did, and he was committed to that answer. 

            Unfortunately, I became angry.  I had expected the neighbor to be there, I knew God was going to save him, and I wondered why he would back out of his commitment?  Instead of graciously encouraging him and moving on, I lost my cool.  I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I got real “preachy” and basically warned him of the fires of Hell.  I walked off mad.

            It didn’t take long to realize that the person God wanted in that meeting that night was me.  I fell underneath great conviction for how I had treated this man and found myself needing to repent of my actions. Honestly, I had secretly wanted to parade the neighbor in front of the church and for him to be the talk of the town.  I had the wrong motives.  I should have cared more about his soul than his presence in a meeting.

 Sometimes your “one” will say no.  It may surprise you, especially if you have been praying for the person faithfully.  I would like to share three insights that I learned from my experience. 

  1.  We are witnesses (Acts 1:8).  A witness for Christ must faithfully share the Gospel.  The Spirit promises to give us boldness as we proclaim the name of Jesus.  Often times the word “soul winner” is applied to evangelism (I still find myself using this word).  Even though “soul winner” is used in proverbs, the context of that proverb (Prov 11:30) is not about evangelism but instead is about utilizing one’s life to influence people for the Lord.  We are called to present the Gospel and be a witness of Jesus.  What the person does with the message is between them and God.  We are faithful when we present the Gospel.
  • Calling fire down from Heaven isn’t really the best strategy.  John and James were rebuked by Jesus for wanting to call fire down on the unbelieving Samaritans (Luke (9:54).  Jesus was not particularly fond of this method.  It is tempting to become angry when the message is continually rejected, but we can’t lose our cool.  In anger, I may have told the neighbor of the church he was going to burn in Hell (which was true!  But not in the right spirit).  Remember,  if we don’t have love we are just making noise (1 Cor 13:1) 
  • It’s not over yet.  Just because our “one” said “no” today doesn’t mean our “one” will say “no” tomorrow.  Your one may never be saved by Christ, but we simply don’t know that yet.  God can use a variety of circumstances and people to move the person along in their decision.  Consider the slowness of the belief of the disciples.  They truly didn’t “get it” until the resurrection (and that was after walking three long years with Jesus himself!)  Your “one” may never accept Christ, but keep loving, keep being polite, keep sharing the truth, and don’t close the door until God has closed it.

To my knowledge, that man never accepted Christ as Savior.  I did go back and apologize for my behavior (which he thought was really weird!)  I still think of him and hopefully, one day will come in contact with him again.  I just paused to pray for him wherever he is today.  The big lesson learned was to remember that sometimes they say no.  When they say no, we still trust in Jesus, and we always reflect Jesus.

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