“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40
I read Don Miller’s, Blue Like Jazz. I found his remarks about witnessing quite challenging but encouraging. “I hoped that love would work like a magnet, pulling people from the mire and toward healing. I knew this was the way God loved me. God had never withheld love to teach me a lesson … I could treat everybody as though they were my best friend … I loved the fact that it wasn’t my responsibility to change somebody, that it was God’s, that my part was just to communicate love and approval.”
I would use the word acceptance rather than approval. Since Jesus didn’t always approve of people’s activities. He said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11). Nevertheless, Don Miller’s point is valid. Jesus communicated love and acceptance. Tax collectors and prostitutes readily saw it. The crowds too but not the Pharisees. Jesus was wanting to draw the Pharisees towards love and healing too but they wouldn’t come to him. He reasoned with them, pleaded with them and shouted at them but it made no difference to most of them.
It never ceases to amaze me that God allows us so much freedom to choose. He allows people to reject his love and compassion even though it breaks his heart to do so.
Today our responsibility is to communicate love and acceptance and let God do the changing. People may not respond but that’s their choice and God allows them to make it.