There have been times I've walked away from a situation, individual, or group thinking to myself: If they don't want to accept this, so be it, it's on them.
In fact, if this act of moving away is due to my faith being ridiculed, not received, or bitterly rejected, I often can cite biblical examples of how God's messengers moved on from a place that did not welcome them. Sometimes it is simply out of comfort to avoid conflict, sometimes it's more personal from family and friends that think me idiotic for my beliefs, and sometimes it is because I am all but pushed away physically.
However I think there is a passage from Acts 18 that paints a complete picture of this scenario that is worth reflecting on.
... and he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent.” ...
(Acts 18:4-6a ESV)
Before Paul disconnected himself from them after they opposed and reviled him, he did three very important things
- He reasoned with them
- He tried to persuade them
- He testified to them
I know there are times I have tried to reason with someone in discussion about my faith, sometimes attempted to persuade them, and even (more importantly I think) testify to them not only that Jesus was the Christ, but a personal testimony as well.
Yet, I sadly can recall more times that I simply didn't even want to get into it for fear of an argument, more frustration, or trying to avoid deeper earthly wounds (ignoring the eternal impact). Sometimes I even hesitated to share my faith on a deeper level with those really close to me, or at work, because I feel my own life doesn't honor Christ like I think it should. After all, those closest to me know my failures all too well. However that is a pernicious lie from the depths of hell that continues to try and convince us that salvation is about deserving and earning, and not about Grace.
So before we shake out our garments and move on, give up, and walk away; are we sure we have done our part? Have we reasoned? Have we attempted to persuade? Have we testified?
Father, grant me the courage to climb above the lies of the enemy onto the solid ground of Your Truth. I confess my lack of faith and my reliance on self when thinking that I am more than I am. Give me the courage and words to use when reasoning, persuading, and testifying to Your Holy Name. Show me discernment for opportunities that you bring me, and do continue to bring them to me, even with as many opportunities that I have let slip by. Thank you for allowing these confessions to fill me with love and not guilt through your Grace poured out on me by your Son Jesus in Who's Name I pray. Amen.