Many of you out there that love Jesus have family and close friends that are not yet born again. They are not following Jesus and it can be quite hard to witness that. It is really hard to have kids, parents or siblings that are not living with God and are thinking you are crazy or don’t want to hear anything you say.
But there is a way you can see that change. I have seen that again and again and I like to share it here with you.
A few days ago a friend shared this:
“Yesterday we baptized my wife’s mother and this is so unbelievable.
She was one of the biggest anti believers in my life ever, but God changed her heart during the years of hard prayers and yesterday on behalf of her own belief we baptized her to Jesus Christ and she received the Holy Spirit.
And now she is our sister, Hallelujah!”
Hallelujah. Yes, this is amazing, and you too can see the same happen with your dear ones. As I said, I have seen that so many times during the last years, and I have also seen that within my own family.
When I gave my lift to Christ many years ago, I was the first one in my entire family who got born again, and no one liked it. Yes, I mean no one. Everyone was thinking that I was crazy.
My brother didn’t talk to me for months and especially my father was very disappointed and angry.
One time he said to me very angrily : “Torben I forbid you to have anything to do with this. (Talking about Jesus and my new faith). What will people say if they hear that my son has got brainwashed”
Yes. It was not easy.
He was very ashamed of me and my new faith in Jesus.
I remember one time I had a Jesus Sticker on my car and when I came to visit my parent, He told me to park the car somewhere else, so the neighbors couldn’t see it.
But all of that changed, and all of that can also change in your life and with those around you.
Some years later, I got the honor to lead my father to Christ and baptize him in water and with the Holy Spirit. You can here see a picture from the baptism. It was a great day that I will never forget.
When my father got born again, everything changed. From being so embarrassed of his son (me) and thinking I was brainwashed (as he called it), to being the most proud father on earth. He started to attend the same church he once forbid me to go to. Yes. He even loved going to other churches and asking those he meets there: Do you know Torben Sondergaard, and when people say yes, then he would say proudly : This is my son.
What I am here going to share is very important and it can really change everything. Not only in your life but also in the lives of those around you. I have seen this happen again and again.
So I hope you are ready.
First I like to say that, yes it is really not easy when you have loved ones that think you are crazy and don’t want to listen to you talk about your faith. I think we all have experienced that. Yes, Jesus also experienced that.
One time Jesus’ mother and brothers thought he was brainwashed or had lost his mind.
You read that here in Mark 3:
“Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said; He is out of his mind.”Mar 3:20-21
Yes, you are not the only one who have had people tell them “you are out of your mind” when it comes to your faith in God.
But what do we do when that happens?
What do we do when they ask us to stop doing what we are doing?
What do you do when you father, just like mine, asks you to stop going to church?
Some will say that we need to honor our parents, and therefore, we need to do what they are saying.
I will not agree with that.
Yes, we need to honor our parents, but to honor them is NOT the same thing as doing everything that they are saying.
When my father said that he wanted me to stop going to church, I did not do what he said. When he said that to me, I stopped for a moment and thought about what would be the right thing to do here. What will Jesus have me do?
Yes. I should honor my early father, but I should also honor my Father who is in heaven?
I then thought about how I could honor my father right now despite what he’s telling me to do.
And then it came to me that the honoring my father starts with knowing the truth and not with agreeing with the way he is seeing things right now in that moment.
I now knew the truth and it had opened my eyes, but he was still blind. If I truly love him then I will do everything I can to bring him to Jesus, but how can I give him Jesus if I myself don’t have him.
So I looked at my father and said: father, I love you and therefore I do not do what you say, because if I don’t have Jesus ,who then shall bring you to Him ?
Yes. He did not really like that answer at that time. But that was the truth. And later, when he realized that, he said that he was forever thankful that I did not do what he told me to do at that time.
So first, our love for people should be based on the truth and not just what feels good here and now.
But back to Jesus.
Jesus experienced how his family thought he was out of his mind and went to him to say that. And it was in that context that we read this:
“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.“Someone told him; Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? Pointing to his disciples, he said; Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Did Jesus honor his parent when he said this? Yes. He did. Jesus never broke the law of God.
Also when it came to “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you”. Exo 20:12
So to honor your parents is not always the same as to do everything they are saying. What is also important in this text we just read is what Jesus is saying about our family. Jesus is saying that our real family isn’t but those who do the will of our heavenly Father. When we “lose” our family or it can feel like that, then you need to know that you have got a whole new family out there.
”Then Peter spoke up; We have left everything to follow you! Truly I tell you; Jesus replied; no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mar 10.28-31
At that time, I “lost” my family, as I experienced how difficult it was to talk to them. Yes there was a time when things didn’t go as I had expected between us, but then I did not give up.
Instead, I spent a lot of time with my new spiritual family. And yes, I have experienced that the relationship I had with them was even stronger that what I have had with my biological family. You may have heard that “blood is thicker than water”, which means that relationships and loyalties within a family are stronger and more important than those established elsewhere. But I like to add here that “Spirit is thicker that both blood and water”. That means that relationships and loyalties within our spiritual family are the strongest and most important ones.
When members of your own family think you are crazy, what will you do then?
Yes. You will spend extra time with you new family. Let those around you be your family like Jesus says.
If we look at Jesus’ life, those who thought he was out of his mind later worshiped him. They later changed their mind and saw that Jesus was in his right mind and it was themselves who were out of their mind thinking what they did about Jesus.
You can experience the same. You can also see that those that are now living away from God will end up being with God.
So how do we reach those in our family and close friends that don’t want us to reach them?
When our family and friends don’t really want you to talk about Jesus, then stop talking about him.
Yes. you heard it right. If they don’t want to listen, then stop talking.
Yes, we know that the Word says that it is important to share the gospel, and that people cannot believe unless someone is talking about Jesus.
But there is actually one place in the Bible where it says that you should not share the gospel. Or at least not with words, and that is when it comes to family and people who are very close to you. When it comes to people who are very close to us, then our words will not make a big difference.
People who are closer to us need something much stronger that our words.
They need to SEE it.
Peter said this:
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them
do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their
wives,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” 1 pe 3.1-2
When it come to people very close to you then they don’t need our words all the time. They need to see our life with Christ. They need to see our purity and godly life. They need to see the power of God.
And this is what I did with my parents and those around me.
I saw that words did not pay off. They needed something much stronger.
So I respected them and did not try to tell them about Jesus every time we met. Yes, they did not listen anyway.
Instead I did what I could to come closer to God in regards to holiness and to see his power in my life and pray for them.
We often misunderstand Jesus’ words here in John 17 when he is talking about being one. Many think that Jesus in John 17 is talking about being one with each other, but he is really talking about being one with Him. Of course when we are one with him, then we are also one with each other.
But he is here talking about what it means to be one with God ,the same way Jesus was one with the Father. If we are in union with Jesus, only then the world (around us) will SEE and believe.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Joh 17:20-21
So Jesus is here telling us what we need to do to get those around us to believe. He is saying that when you are one with him, then the world will see and believe. Yes, people really misunderstand these verses thinking that we all need to be one with everyone out there that say they believe in Jesus. And thus we are now seeing a false unity that is compromising the truth, more about that later in another article.
But no, Jesus is talking about being one with Him, and Him being one with our Father like they are one.
Just a few verses apart he says this:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
you have sent.” Joh 17:3
Yes, it is really about being one with them and not one with each other.
When you really are walking with God our father and Jesus Christ, then the world around you will see it and they will believe, no matter what other people in the church are doing.
Do you have family and friends that don’t know God, then walk with God and let them see it.
Then seek him like never before.
Start to live the life as a true disciple and let them see it.
Your words alone will not do it.
Yes, if you preach the gospel but do not live it out, then your words will have the opposite effect. You think you are preaching to them that Jesus is the only way to God but you are actually saying with your way of living, that Jesus is NOT the way to God. That there is not truth in what you are saying.
So stop preaching and start living it out. Stop saying the same words to your family and friends again and again and start showing
them what this life is about. When I understood that my words did not pay off, I did everything I could to come closer to
I started to fast and pray.
I started to obey.
I started to heal the sick and cast out demons as the bible says.
I started to lead other people to Christ around me, and my family started to see all of that.
They started to see all of that together with my holy nature and my new (better) life which
is forever dedicated to Christ.
When my father saw all of these things, he started to change.
He started to see that this is REAL and he started to get more and more curious.
Hmm… What is happening with my son?
People are getting healed, can this be real?
He doesn’t live like he did before? He’s really living the Word he has been sharing…….
Yes, He started to see that I was serving something bigger than us. He saw the supernatural life, like Paul. Yes, our kingdom is not only words but power:
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of
men, but in the power of God.” 1Co 2:4-5
When he saw that he was ready to listen, only then did I get the honor to lead him to Christ and baptize him in Water and with the Holy Spirit.
I have been witnessing such changes ever since, not only with people in my life, but with so many others out there.
Do you have family and close friends that don’t know God?
People that you have been telling about Him, but they don’t listen?
It is time to LIVE the life.
Seek God like never before and start to see the Power of God work in your life.
Do it for God and do it for them.
Show them that the Bible is Real.
Show them that God is real.
Show them that Jesus is real.
Show them that the Holy Spirit is Real.
The worst thing one could do and that is sad enough, is going to church every Sunday, and calling yourself Christian, but don’t live it out. Yes. People really don’t listen to your words if our lives don’t show it.
I want to encourage you out there. Don’t give up but instead do something about it.
Respect them when they don’t want to listen to you. Instead of trying again and again and feeling like it is taking all energy out of you. Then instead use that energy to give yourself over to God.
Start to obey Jesus.
Start to live the life of a true disciple.
While you are growing closer to God, then understand that you are not alone. You have a big new spiritual family out there. Spend time with them and let them encourage you to keep seeking and growing in God.
If you do this and keep praying for them I guarantee you, that it will not only change your life but also the people around you.
You WILL see how they start seeing it and soon they will come asking you to tell them more about your life and what is happening with you. When that happens, then you share the gospel and they are ready to receive.
As I said before, I have seen that not only in my life but in so many others out there.
God will also do it for you…..