Whenever Tom tried to witness to his lost brother, a lump
rose in his throat and panic caused his heart to race. William, Tom’s
brother, had a Ph.D. in philosophy and loved to argue about religion.
That made Tom feel inadequate and just plain stupid.
William always raised questions about Christianity that
Tom had never considered. So Tom quickly retreated, asking standby
questions such as, “If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven?”
William would immediately derail the conversation, asking:
“How do you know that there’s a heaven? How do you know that the Bible
is any more valid than the Qur’an? If God truly loves us, why do
innocent children suffer and die?”
The questions went on and on. Tom feared saying the wrong
things. He also was afraid of appearing ignorant.
Finally, Tom worried that if he kept bringing up the
subject of William’s
salvation, William would become offended and reject him. Tom didn’t
handle rejection very well, especially coming from his older brother. So
he backed off completely from sharing his faith further.
Every one of us has flaws that can keep our loved ones
from seeing Jesus in us. In Tom’s case, the flaw was fear, and it
created a wall that stood between him and his brother William.
Fear can become a stronghold in our lives, making it
difficult for those we love to accept the good news. But there is hope!
We can storm the gates and tear down the wall of fear that blocks our
witness for Christ.
What do you fear most? Rejection? Appearing foolish? Being
shamed by family members? Regardless of the nature of our fears, the
power of God’s Spirit can help us triumph over every one of them when
witnessing to others (see 2 Tim. 1:7-8).
Fear of Rejection
Most of us
enjoy being loved and affirmed by the significant people in our
lives—family, colleagues at work and other believers. But we may feel
that if we try one more time to witness, they will reject not only
Christ but us as well.
If you have a fear of rejection, here are some ideas that
Don’t end communication. It’s important to do
everything possible to maintain a loving, positive relationship with all
family members—saved or unsaved. We cannot be responsible for their
rejection if we have done all we can to reach out with God’s love and
Jesus talked about the rejection that comes from being
persecuted for righteousness’ sake. His Word tells us we are blessed and
rewarded as a result (see Matt. 5:11-12).
Even Jesus’ family was estranged from Him (see Mark
3:32-35). Likewise, He predicted that some would completely reject us to
the point that we might have to allow a broken relationship (see Mark
Some believers take pride in having been rejected by
unsaved family members. Yet, their rejection had nothing to do with
boldly proclaiming Christ and everything to do with being self-righteous
and downright obnoxious.
Such a witness does not glorify or honor Jesus. Be a
humble, loving servant to your lost family members. Then if they reject
you, they will also be rejecting the Suffering Servant whom you serve.
Don’t stop trying—even if you are rejected. Jesus
was rejected by everyone—including His disciples. Yet He still loved
them enough to go to the cross for them.
We have to die to ourselves, to our expectations and to
our own agendas when we experience rejection from our family members.
Too often we want them saved in our way, at our convenience and for our
glory. When things don’t go according to our plans, we use their
rejection as our excuse to quit.
Loving those who don’t appreciate our wish for them to get
saved is being like Jesus. Are you willing to follow the example of
Christ on the cross? Dying to self is the key to overcoming rejection
(see Gal. 2:20).
Don’t reject them if they reject you. Our lost
loved ones may reject us and break the relationship with us. Jesus said
that people will be offended by Him and by those who follow Him (see
Though family members may choose to break off the
relationship, we must love them when they don’t love us. And we must
serve them even when they don’t appreciate it (see Matt. 5:44).