Two Tips for Approaching Unsaved Family Members
I’m sure just about every Christian has a family member or friend they’ve been reaching out to for years and years. Maybe it’s a parent, a spouse, or a child. And even though they’ve been sharing the gospel with them, praying for them, and doing everything you can to reach out to them for all these years, they still refuse to believe.
He’s what I’d recommend: never stop praying and never stop pursuing.
Never stop praying because, as you probably know very well by now, if this person is ever going to be saved, it’s going to take a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. So never stop praying that the Holy Spirit would do that miraculous work.
Remember what Jesus said in Luke 18 in the parable of the persistent widow, how this widow kept on going to a crooked judge day after day, saying, “Give me justice against my adversary.” And finally, simply because the judge was so tired of her nagging him all the time, he did give her the justice she sought.
So, Jesus says, how much will our righteous and loving God give us what we seek if we’re faithful in coming to him day after day? We have no reason to think he won’t and every reason to think he will.
I love the story about D. L. Moody, a famous evangelist from the late 1800’s. D. L. Moody wrote in front cover of his Bible a list of 100 people he would like to see saved. And he prayed for them regularly, day after day. By the time he died, 96 of those 100 people had come to know the Lord. Pretty amazing, right? But here’s the thing: guess what happened at his funeral? You got it. At his funeral the other 4 people were converted so that all 100 had now come to know Jesus. Never give up praying.
Also, never give up pursuing. And by that, I mean keep looking for opportunities to talk about the gospel. Obviously, you want to do that in a thoughtful and wise way so you don’t end up simply nagging the person and driving them farther away from Jesus. But at the same time, never stop looking for opportunities to share Jesus in natural and appropriate ways.
Talk about the difference Jesus has made in your life, the hope and joy you have knowing that he’s saved you, and the inexpressible wonder of the grace of God that he would show such love to sinners like us. Talk about all the aspects of the gospel you can talk about. Because, as Romans 1:16 says, the gospel is “the power of God for salvation.”
My wife told me a really neat story about her grandparents. Becky’s grandmother was a Christian and had been trying to reach out to her unsaved husband for years and years—actually decades and decades. I’m sure we probably wouldn’t even be able to count all of the prayers she prayed for him or the times she tried to share the gospel with him.
But he just wouldn’t have it. Sometimes he would go to church just to get her off his back, but he was never really interested.
Now, as both of them neared the ends of their lives, Becky’s grandmother had dementia to the point where she often had to be actively comforted. And one of the things that comforted her the most was Scripture. So her unbelieving husband would ask family members, including Becky, to come over and read Scripture to her in order to comfort her.
At first, he would always leave the room when they did that. But over time, he began to sit in the room right beside that room and listen. And eventually, he would even join in.
At that point, Becky decided it would be good to start intentionally reading scriptures that presented the gospel in a very explicit way, so she started reading through the book of Romans. And when she came to Romans 3, her grandfather felt an enormous weight of conviction over his sins and started asking questions about Jesus how his sins could be forgiven. So Becky was able to explain to him how Jesus had actually taken the punishment for his sins by dying on the cross.
Not very long after that, Becky’s grandfather put his trust in Jesus to save him! After all those years and all those prayers and the efforts of his wife, he finally trusted Jesus. And then he died as well. But what a reminder to never give up praying and never give up pursuing.
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