I have an old friend who has become a nun. She had a very bad childhood and I believe she is trying to hide away from the disappointments. I thought it was too late to preach to her but I did it anyway. At first she retaliated with her beliefs in Buddha. But in the end, she gave up. She wanted to end the conversation without replying to me, but Incontinued to send her encouragement and daily devotions I thought might help her understand the truth. Should I continue to preach to her or stop doing so?
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What a wonderful friend you are! I have been there with many friends and have seen some come to Christ, while others continue to defy and resist the truth. I would say never stop praying for her, and always listen to God's guidance on the sharing. We never know what small thing (and it's always a small thing!) will trigger a reaction and cause someone to turn to God. I've seen all my best letters and heartfelt preaching go for naught, only to find out a friend accepted Christ because I brought them food when they were sick, or was there for them in some capacity. I have one friend whom I received a very strong message NOT to pray for, and obeyed, only to find out months later that she had accepted Christ. I don't understand how the Holy Spirit works to convict, only that He does. God knows her better than anyone, so follow His guidance. As far as the preaching, I would continue to SHOW with actions rather than just send her answers or verses etc. People respond to our actions far more than our words. Keep being kind, accept her, love her and let her know you're open to talking if she ever wants to talk. If she is exploring different faiths, chances are the Holy Spirit is working. The best thing any of us can do is fervently pray for those we love and witness to. Best to you, and again, how wonderful a friend you are to keep caring!
Just as Christians themselves cannot come to saving faith of their own volition, but only by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we, after becoming Christians, cannot through our own efforts assure or guarantee another person's acceptance of the Gospel (however much we may care about that person), nor should we hold ourselves responsible for it. Our duty is to present the facts of the Gospel, along with any personal testimony of the benefits that it provides, and to consistently witness to our faith and salvation in our lives and conduct (so that we may not be seen as hypocritical), as well as by our love and concern for others (on an everyday, human level, and not just regarding matters of religion), and then allow God to work in that person's heart and life. When dealing with people with whom we have already spoken about the Gospel, we can continue to look for "doors" that God may open to us to once again bring up the subject (where it can be tied to a specific situation that is occurring, or to a problem that the other person is experiencing), but we should not (in my opinion) center our interaction with them exclusively and continually on the subject of religion (especially if they are reacting to us with hostility or avoidance), nor should we demand some particular kind of response from them.
I think it's wonderful that you want to reach out with God's Word to your friend. I believe though that you're pushing too hard. Be a friend. Be there when she needs to talk and just listen. Love her unconditionally. I believe that we can do as much to bring people to Salvation through our actions as we can our words. You can't force your faith on other people, but we need to love people to Christ. Also remember that our time is not God's time. While things may not happen as quickly as we would like, God's timing is perfect.
Don't stop praying. I have found that God will place other people in their path to give them the message of mercy and grace. For instance, we have prayed for and spoken often to my in-laws with no reception. A few years back we became discouraged and decided to just pray for them; not speaking anymore about Christ to them. One weekend about a year later, they were having plumbing work done in their home by a plumber who happened to be a believer. After he was paid and on the way out the door, he stopped and told my in-laws that he just has to say something. He told them he never does this sort of thing but the spirit of God was on him to speak. He spent the next hour talking with them about the Bible, God, heaven, hell and so on. We only found out because mom called and asked if we sent him over. After laughing, we just told her that God is so interested in them that He will not stop seeking them until the day they die. We were greatly encouraged. I think that in our zealousness for bringing people to Christ, we can sometimes "oversell" the message of Christ. Prior to my personally receiving Christ, when I was 18, I was hounded by three guys to say the sinners' prayer. I said it just to get them off my back and to stop bugging me. It worked, they never followed up and left me alone. I believe that the pressure they applied delayed my coming to Christ on my own by several years. By the grace of God, I came to faith in Christ and repentance eight years later. However, I regret not starting my walk earlier in life as I made a huge number of life altering mistakes during those eight years. Over the many years of being a believer, I have seen many people come to salvation and a few walk away due to life circumstances. Heb 6:4-6 weighs heavy on my heart. Some of these people were very close friends and they stopped talking to me. I believe that they were convicted whenever I tried to reach out to them. Since they will not communicate, I have committed to praying for them, allowing God to do His work in their hearts. I have found that we need to be ready at all times as Peter said in 1 Pet 3:15. Many times I will wake up from sleep at night with someone on my heart. In praying for them, I ask God who else He would want me to pray for. It's amazing the number of people that come to mind. The first time this happened to me it felt like a mighty angel was in the room with me. I didn't know what to do but I was very scared. I fell to my knees and started praying and a close friend of mine who became a missionary came to mind. I focused my pray on them. After a period of time, I fell asleep. A week later, I received a letter from them in which they told me about that hard day. I wrote back informing them that God woke me up in the night to have me pray for them when they were going through that hard day. Their hard day and my nighttime prayer were at the same time. Read E.M. Bounds complete works on Prayer. He had a great grasp on the human reaching into the spiritual realm by prayer to work in the physical realm in which we live. May God strengthen you by the power of His Spirit.
'While it is still called TODAY'... and as long as they have breath in them... it is never to late to share God's love with our friends. Bible says, "Pray without ceasing". Ask God for wisdom & understanding, and love on her with encouragement and friendship as often as you possibly can. God said "I would that non should perish", so God wants your friend to turn fully to Him, but it is her choice. Our job as Christians is to never give up on anyone, for 'The prayers of a righteous person availeth MUCH'. There are many, many promises in the Bible, and everyone we can 'snatch from the fire' is a soul our Lord cherishes, and God rewards us for our love. Be not deceived, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap, so we need to sow love unending, and prayer unceasing. Keep loving her! Never give up!
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