I decided to write about a recent event in my life because sometimes a personal experience presents itself as a great biblical topic.
My husband and I, recently, moved to a newly constructed neighborhood near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes. Some of the sunrises and sunsets here are, absolutely, gorgeous and we glorify God every time we are blessed to see one of them.
Over the past two months of living here, we met a few of our new neighbors who moved into their finished homes. We were overjoyed that our neighbors appeared to be friendly and we seemed to have some things in common with them. During a private conversation with each individual neighbor, the opportunity presented itself to share God’s plan of salvation. After we talked about each of our beliefs, we ended our conversation and parted on the same friendly terms as before.
Over the next two weeks or so, my husband and I noticed that we were being snubbed as well as avoided by the two neighbors that I had spoken with earlier. It was so very obvious that something was wrong, but no one came forward to tell us why this was happening. This upset me to the point that I had to talk with my Pastor at our local church. I didn’t know why I let this bother me so much. After all, we are neighbors and can live on, simply, a cordial basis. My Pastor helped me to see my problem. My former self (who might care but show no emotion about any of this) was in conflict with my new self (a new creation in Christ) who is growing into the humble and loving image of Jesus. Now, I needed to ask one of the neighbors why we were being ostracized.
Surprisingly, I was told by one of the husbands that I came across to his wife as “bold and pushy” in my Christian faith and that I was not going to “save” his wife. “We are not going to be Christians”, he said to me. Completely taken back, my response was that I could not save his wife. I cannot save anyone. No one can save anyone else. Only, God can save someone’s soul and that decision is between the individual person and God. I told him that my intent was not to be ‘bold or pushy’. That is not who I am in Christ Jesus. My mission in this life is simply to tell people what Jesus did for the world in the most humble and loving way possible.
My first thought from the husband’s response was to “thank the Lord” for transforming me into a new creation in Him. My second thought was to “thank Him” for giving me the ability to handle this situation, not in anger or reprisal, but in humbleness with an open heart. I find this to be the only way to truly live. I, sincerely, believe that the Lord convicted these unbelievers of their sin(s) and, because of that, my simple expression of faith was taken way out of context as “bold and pushy.”
It is insignificant to me, now, if these unbelieving neighbors speak to me or not. We, as Christians, need to step out for the faith. We must never weaken in our walk nor apologize for simply sharing our faith. We may need to correct any misconceptions of what was actually shared like in this case, but we must remain steadfast in what we say or do in Christ Jesus. Believe me when I tell you how blessed I feel that I was able to handle this situation as my ‘New Creation in Christ Jesus’.
When I go home to the Lord, I would rather have Jesus say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mat 25:21); rather than ask me, “Why didn’t you tell them about me?”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor 5:17
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
Blessings in His unlimited grace,
Debby Mac Manes, a disciple of Jesus Christ <><