Daily Devotional for Wednesday January 2, 2008
Encountering Unbelieving Family During the Holidays
(1 Peter 3:15)
Encountering those unbelieving family members and friends during the holidays. Every year I get the post-holiday emails from people who share with me their encounters during the holidays with those in their family or friends who have rejected the Bible, Jesus, and the Christian faith. Most share how they either didn't have the answers to the questions these unbelievers raised, or in many cases, they were intimidated into silence. So today, I want to deal with this issue and help you to be better "prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
I always find it amusing that uncle Joe or cousin Julie or the friend from school you only see during the holidays, people who have rejected the Truth of the Bible and faith in Christ, are always ready and more than willing to tell anyone who listens why the Bible is not true and Christians are weak and stupid people who need a crutch to get through life. They are quick to point out that smart people, educated people, people who think for themselves and don't live their lives for some mythical "man in the sky" or follow an archaic book that they claim has been written and re-written thousands of times by all types of men for their own personal motivations.
Never forget what I have told you in the past. Unbelievers are always looking to justify their unbelief. They will seize on anything and everything to justify their rejection of the Bible and the Christian faith. A Believer shares his or her faith to help lead someone who is lost to everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ. A non-believer shares their rejection of the Truth to make themselves feel better about their rejection of that Truth. After a while, you will hear them all regurgitate the same reasons and cite the same stereotypes. In most cases I know what they are going to say before they even say it. Again, they are not trying to convince you to abandon your faith, only justify why they have rejected that faith.
So that brings us to how a Believer should respond to that unbelieving family member or friend, especially during the holidays. It can be very awkward in a family setting to get into a discussion about your faith. Personally, I think there is no better time or place for it. In responding to that unbeliever, you end up witnessing your faith to everyone. Remember this. If an unbeliever can be so bold and convicting as they share their rejection of God and His Truth, a follower of Christ should be even more bold and more convicting as they share their love of the Lord and His Word. Let me say that one more time, since you MUST hear this. If an unbeliever can be so bold and convicting as they share their rejection of God and His Truth, a follower of Christ should be even more bold and more convicting as they share their love of the Lord and His Word.
The best counsel I can give you is to not get involved answering the questions or statements an unbeliever makes. There are always more questions than answers, even for the most seasoned theologian, so please don't fall into that trap. The key is for YOU to take control of the conversation. You do that by simply ignoring the questions or statements being presented, and instead ask the unbeliever if they believe there is a God, a Supreme Being, a Creator. The greatest evidence for God is you and me. There is NO OTHER logical explanation or scientific proof that man's existence could have happened any other way, NONE! If they are foolish enough to talk about evolution, they are still left with the unanswered question where did that first cell come from, or the supposed "Big Bang." Again, God is the only legitimate answer.
The other direction I take the unbeliever to is two indisputable facts. The first being we will all die, the second being we all sin. There is no denying either of those two facts. At that point they are left with believing we just die and that is it, meaning this life has no meaning or purpose. If our life indeed does have meaning and purpose, it not only makes the case for God, but that we have an eternal soul. This now allows us to deal directly with the most important topic of all, where our soul will spend eternity. That of course is the natural open door to share the sacrifice of Jesus and why it is only faith in Jesus that can save men's souls. Again, as you are sharing this, it is not just for the benefit of the unbeliever you are engaging, but all those who will be listening.
The icing on the cake is taking a few moments to share what Jesus has done in your life. A nonbeliever wan try to prove the Bible isn't really God's Word, or that the Christian faith is in vain, but they can NEVER take away your testimony and your personal witness about what Christ has done in your life. My friend, your life is a living testimony for Christ and His love and power! Trust me, that unbelieving family member or friend can say NOTHING when you stand up under the power of the Holy Ghost and testify what Christ has done in your life!!!
I love you and care about you so much. I know how hurt many people are after the holiday's when they tell me how they failed God by not standing up to that unbelieving family member or friend who takes every opportunity to slam the Bible, mock Christ, and denounce the Christian faith. Be honest. Did you encounter that during the holidays and sit back in silence? What about when you are confronted with unbelievers in your daily life at work, school, or wherever your day takes you? Do you usually just sit back and say nothing? If you do, you are not alone.
One of the biggest problems we have today are people who simply won't stand up for their faith since they don't want to be called names or shunned by the people they interact with each day. I will be praying for you today to know God's boldness and have the courage to stand up for the faith. If those who serve and follow satan are bold enough to take a stand for their beliefs, why aren't those who serve and follow the Lord? You have your testimony, you have the indisputable fact of God's existence, you have the indisputable facts that we will die and all sin. You have everything you need to stand up to that unbelieving family member of friend and make a case for the existence of God, the Truth of His Word, and that Jesus is our only answer and hope!