What NOT To Do Toward An Unbeliever

July 22

"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;"
Proverbs 9:7-8

Many alienations could be prevented by heeding this advice. It's hard for a believer who has been born again to believe that those not born again do not want to hear it. The things of the Lord are so deep and so precious to the believer, that he can't imagine how anyone wouldn't want the same. But he does wrong by harping on it to one who doesn't want to hear it, and indeed, it can cause alienation.

"For we are to God the fragrance of Christ
among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death,
and to the other the aroma of life leading to life."
2 Corinthians 2:15-16

In the 19th chapter of Matthew, a rich young ruler who kept all the commandments of God came to Jesus and asked him what he must do to be perfected. Jesus told him to go sell what he has and give it to the poor, then come follow him.

vs 22:
"But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful,
for he had great possessions."

One of the most notable parts of this conversation is that when the man chose not to do as Jesus said and turned and went away, that Jesus did not go after him. Most of us would have run after that young man saying, "wait, you don't understand, you can't lose out with God, what you give will be multiplied back to you, you're so close to the truth..." and on and on we'd plead, trying to convince the young man that there could be no greater calling than to follow Jesus. But ...Jesus let him go. He didn't run after him to reason with him.

HE LET HIM GO.

It will profit nothing to try to convince a person who has made up his mind that he doesn't want to follow the Lord. You can argue till you're blue in the face, you can present your greatest points, but if the person doesn't want to hear it, you're not only wasting your time but you might be causing an alienation between that person and yourself. To those who don't want to hear it, you are "the aroma of death leading to death." Don't keep pushing. It can only cause harm.

So what can one do then? Is there nothing one can do?

Oh yes, there surely is something, and that something is prayer. We tend to downplay in our minds the importance of prayer, but prayer is a very, very powerful tool in our arsenal. STOP striving with an unbeliever, but intensely pray for him. That can turn the tide forever.

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man AVAILS MUCH."
James 5:16

The most important part of prayer is persistence, because usually the answers don't come immediately and many become discouraged because of that fact. I heard the true story of a great man of God who was on his deathbed, and a nurse heard him giving thanks to God for the grace to pray for those on his prayer list all these years and not give up. When he died, NOT ONE of those on his prayer list was saved. Can you imagine the strength and wisdom of this man to not give up but to continue his intercession even while seeing no hint whatsoever of an answer to his prayers?  Oh, but wait! Later ...every single person on his prayer list eventually came to the Lord!!!

Don't give up. Pray without ceasing. Believe that your prayers will be answered, and they WILL be. The day will come when you will rejoice over the fruit of your persistence!