I think i failed

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lifelong_sinner

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello all, its been a while since i posted, but i think i have yet again failed God and am not sure what to do. So my ex came in to her moms house this weekend to help her get some stuff fixed. She called me and i told her i would come down and help with repairs. So i brought up some new things happening at my church with them, and this led to us talking about God. Long story short, it was a disaster.
It didnt go well, and i went back down there today to try and patch things up, but before i got a chance to, both told me they didnt want me to talk about religion with them. I dont believe either one is saved, and i have often wanted an opportunity to discuss this. And when i got that opportunity, i failed at it. And now, i feel terrible about this and am not sure what to do about this. I just dont want them to goto hell, but im wondering if the task was more than i thought i could handle. And im supposed to be having a birthday party in 2 weeks for her mother. I could use advice.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
What you describe doesn’t sound like failure, but the generally expected outcome of calling others to Christ in a dark world. Don’t consider their failure to believe a failure for you. If that were true, Christ was the worst evangelist ever. But he was actually the best.

My advice: Pray. Continue loving them. Continue pointing them to Christ by your words and behavior.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
It’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. That said, just because they didn’t like you talking about God doesn’t mean you failed.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It's a lie from Satan that you failed. You didn't. Remember only God can change their hearts. Perhaps you put a pebble in their shoe, or a seed...
 

Branson

Puritan Board Freshman
You didn’t fail brother. I’ve always found this quote comforting when faced with rejection:

"It is a striking fact that the only thing which our Lord is said to have 'marveled' at during His earthly ministry, was man's 'unbelief'. (Mark 6:6) We shall do well to remember this, if we ever try to do good to others in the matter of religion. We must not be cast down because our words are not believed, and our efforts seem thrown away. We must not complain of it as a strange thing, and suppose that the people we have to deal with are peculiarly stubborn and hard. We must recollect that this is the very cup of which our Lord had to drink, and like Him we must patiently work on. If even He, so perfect and plain a teacher, was not believed, what right have we to wonder if men do not believe us? Happy are the ministers, and missionaries, and teachers who keep these things in mind! It will save them much bitter disappointment. In working for God, it is of first importance to understand what we must expect in man. Few things are so little realized as the extent of human unbelief." -J.C. Ryle
 

LadyCalvinist

Puritan Board Junior
Brother, what the others has said is true, please take it to heart. All of my immediate family are unsaved. I have tried to talk to them, but one responded that she was an atheist and there was nothing I could say that would change that. The others in my family have made it clear that they don't want to hear it. I felt that I failed but I now know that all things are in God's hands.
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
You rather honored God by speaking (correctly I presume) about him. What happens beyond that is not in your control. Much of my family is also not saved; my dad adheres to wildly different doctrines and though I feel confident he knows Jesus of course I cannot say for sure the state of his eternal soul. My brother outright denies the Lord and the rest are lukewarm in their beliefs in my perception.

I really feel that we often do poorly in converting our own family members; we are too familiar to them and as you know, familiarity breeds contempt. I frequently pray that my brother will run into a Christian who just really changes his mind about God. I think it is good that you planted the seeds; the rest is up to the Lord. As others encouraged you to do, continue to pray that God will work in their lives to bring them into his kingdom.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Even with the best of intentions and most thoughtful and gracious responses people can react the same way. If you feel like your approach wasn't gracious and too direct then maybe think of different ways to word things in the future. Jesus did everything right and they still killed him. You must also remind yourself that it is only God who changes hearts and can use any circumstance to bring about that change. Even the situations you described.
 

lifelong_sinner

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks all. I sent my ex a text message apologizing for making things so awkward, and that it wasnt my intention. She did call after that and we talked and are still friends. My ex told me last nite that she knew she was going to hell and didnt seem to care. Her mother believes that going to church and being a good person will get her to Heaven. I just dont want them to end up in hell, and i have a lot of heaviness over this, but not just them but all my friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. i just wish they took God as seriously as i do.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
Brother, what the others has said is true, please take it to heart. All of my immediate family are unsaved. I have tried to talk to them, but one responded that she was an atheist and there was nothing I could say that would change that. The others in my family have made it clear that they don't want to hear it. I felt that I failed but I now know that all things are in God's hands.
Absolutely! All of my extended are unsaved as well.
You speak truth if they will hear it, and always bear witness through your life, no matter what.
Then you leave it all to God.
There is no failure in bearing witness to God's truth, ever.
We don't know what God will do with these bits of witnessing, down the road.
 

beloved7

Puritan Board Freshman
Faith comes from hearing, possibly try memorizing some key verses from Romans and use that when witnessing? This way, you will relieve yourself from the burden of questioning your delivery.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think you failed. I too have been shut down rather quickly at times when trying to witness to friends and even family at times.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Many have said the right thing. I will say it again, maybe slightly differently. The Bible defines success in evangelism not by results, but by faithfulness. So, the question is rather this: did you speak the truth, and did you speak it in a loving way? If you did these two things, you succeeded.
 

lifelong_sinner

Puritan Board Freshman
I talked with my mom about this today. Most days, me and her have our own Bible study and we both have learned so much from this, and we both concluded that from our experience, most people simply do not study the Bible, sadly, and that its possible we have taken for granted how much we have benefitted from doing such studying. We also both feel a heaviness for all that reject the Word. It bothers us terribly that so many we know simply seem to not care.

Did i speak the truth and in a loving way? I think so. My ex’s mother believed that going to church and being a good person would get her to Heaven. My ex herself said she knew already she was going to hell, and had a dont care attitude towards it. They said they had a female pastor and learned so much from her. When i questioned how they knew the female pastor was correct, they simply said because she’s a preacher. And i told them that only the Bible was truth, and that all pastors words should be compared to what the Bible said. Not once did either of them talk about the Bible other than saying it had contradictions and it had so many different versions. I tried to explain how no one is good, that we are all terrible sinners, and that good works wont save us. At the end of the nite, i did tell them that much of what they had said i believed to be heresy. I told them we need God to save us, that we cant do it ourselves. And all i got told back was “people can believe what they choose to.” It was a bit of a tense exchange for me, personally. They just seemed so resistant to what i had to say.

I believe i failed because 1. As usual, i would sit around afterwards thinking i should have said this, i should have said that. And 2. I feel like if i had made a more convincing argument, they wouldnt have rejected it and instead embraced it. I simply failed and was not prepared enough to thoroughly explain the gospel.

I will say that from others comments on here, i am surprised as many have been rejected, especially by family members, as most of you seem to be far better “explainers” than i am.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Remember, we're Biblical and that means we believe that men and women are dead in their sins and trespasses.

It is the default condition of mankind that men and women will be blind and deaf to the Gospel. The grace of the Gospel is the power of Christ to bring the dead to life.

No well-formed argument can convert a soul. Only the Holy Spirit has that power.

Continue with your zeal, but don't beat yourself up about arguments you may or may not have made better or more convincingly.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I havent talked to them.
Seek out the God-ordained authority placed over you for counsel, brother. There are good saints on this board but they do not know you personally and God has not placed them over you as under-shepherds to care for your soul. Seek out your local session.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
All this encouragement is great, but we weren't there. Perhaps you participated in a yelling match with them, or maybe you came at them like a hawk on a field mouse, or maybe you called them names or gave ultimatums about what they need to do or you won't interact with them.... none of us knows. In short, it *is* possible that you merited the scorn they're heaping on you. I don't know. And know one will know if you don't share it with them. But the counsel above, to have a good heart-to-heart with your elders is strongly advisable.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I talked with my mom about this today. Most days, me and her have our own Bible study and we both have learned so much from this, and we both concluded that from our experience, most people simply do not study the Bible, sadly, and that its possible we have taken for granted how much we have benefitted from doing such studying. We also both feel a heaviness for all that reject the Word. It bothers us terribly that so many we know simply seem to not care.

Did i speak the truth and in a loving way? I think so. My ex’s mother believed that going to church and being a good person would get her to Heaven. My ex herself said she knew already she was going to hell, and had a dont care attitude towards it. They said they had a female pastor and learned so much from her. When i questioned how they knew the female pastor was correct, they simply said because she’s a preacher. And i told them that only the Bible was truth, and that all pastors words should be compared to what the Bible said. Not once did either of them talk about the Bible other than saying it had contradictions and it had so many different versions. I tried to explain how no one is good, that we are all terrible sinners, and that good works wont save us. At the end of the nite, i did tell them that much of what they had said i believed to be heresy. I told them we need God to save us, that we cant do it ourselves. And all i got told back was “people can believe what they choose to.” It was a bit of a tense exchange for me, personally. They just seemed so resistant to what i had to say.

I believe i failed because 1. As usual, i would sit around afterwards thinking i should have said this, i should have said that. And 2. I feel like if i had made a more convincing argument, they wouldnt have rejected it and instead embraced it. I simply failed and was not prepared enough to thoroughly explain the gospel.

I will say that from others comments on here, i am surprised as many have been rejected, especially by family members, as most of you seem to be far better “explainers” than i am.
Let me gently correct you on some points, brother. It doesn't matter how logical, "convincing," trenchant, or insightful all your answers may have been, if the Holy Spirit does not act, your words will not result in conversion.

On the flip side, it doesn't matter how bumbling, inept, clumsy, awkward, etc., your words may have been. If the Holy Spirit uses them to accomplish what He wants, it will have an impact far beyond your wildest imaginings. The power is not in you, and it is not in your arguments and logic. The moving power is the Holy Spirit, and He will do the heavy lifting. We focus on speaking the truth in love, and pray for the Holy Spirit to do ALL the heavy lifting.

A few examples from the Bible and history will suffice to prove this point. Jesus Himself preached on many occasions without converting anyone. Does anyone suppose that the omnipotent God-man would have been inadequate in His presentation, if the mere form for the words were the location of God's power? On the flip side, Jonah's sermon to Nineveh was a whopping five words in the original Hebrew, somewhat colloquially translated as "In forty days Nineveh's toast." The whole city repented. Shouldn't Ezekiel 37:1-14 give you some indication? Could Ezekiel possibly think that simply speaking words to bones will bring them alive? If you are speaking to unconverted people, you are speaking to spiritually dead people. You cannot make them alive. Yes, we don't want to put any unnecessary obstacles in the way. But you can't be taking for yourself the position of the flip-switch.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I’ll just add something about failure. The Christian walk, after you’ve walked it long enough and can look back on it with sober perspective, is a long series of bumbling failures as well as sweet victories that we can take no credit for. The grace of God is truly amazing, and what it’s all about. He brings beauty from ashes.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
Remember too, that you are a representation of Christ to them, and may be the only one they know. Love them...be generous to them...show them Christ in your behavior and affection. Be patient with them, as he is with us. As others have said, the work of the Holy Spirit will come in his own time. If they aren't willing to hear your words, respect that and just be Christ-like around them. Be kind, generous, patient, long-suffering. Be present, and let your behavior illustrate Christ in their company. Sometimes the most necessary conversation is our actions and not our words.

Blessings!
 
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