An incident recently happened to me which caused me to rethink an important question for all Christians, especially now in the very last of the Last Days: should we even try to save ardent non-Believers? Is there a way to best know when to “plant seeds” and when to walk away, shaking the dust off your sandals?
The times we live in are now characterized by the most vile hate speech directed at Christians from atheists, cultural Marxists and those of other faiths who relish nothing more than to revile Christians publicly – especially in comment sections which follow articles posted on politically-oriented websites. Many Christians have given up trying to respond to these verbal thugs, so my question is pertinent since as Christians we are supposed to share The Good News and be ready to explain scriptural truth to anyone at any time.
The incident involved an ongoing debate I had with a non-Believer on a political comment board on the Internet. I was attempting to plant seeds in my comments, but was met with a very withering and brutal attack on my faith, my character and the intent of my heart. If you have ever been engaged in such an argument with a non-Believer, you know it can quickly degenerate into an ugly, humiliating mess.
This particular fellow was a published author of a Christian press (!), who was using this credential to bolster his case against the deity of Jesus – ! He made ad hominem attacks, called me ugly names, and basically tried to publicly humiliate me. He was in fact, writing hate speech against Jesus and the Christian faith in a way so egregious, I felt compelled to report his activity to his publisher. The end result was he was exposed as a fraud, admitting he was not a Christian at all and that he was using his book to draw Christians away from the faith! Since his publisher required all their authors to believe and accept the Apostle’s Creed and because he exhibited public behaviors that reflected very poorly on their association with him, thereby causing their business to be tainted by his bad behavior, they dropped him and his book from their roster, ending their association.
I must admit I did not represent the faith as well as I would have liked and allowed my zeal for Jesus to override a better attempt to engage this man in order to leave some seeds behind for the Lord to plant and take root. Naturally that didn’t go over well with this fellow since he was coming from a position so thoroughly Antichrist in spirit, nothing would diminish his hate speech toward Jesus. I should have ended the conversation quickly, but did not.
In the end, this man’s own words exposed the truth about him to his publisher who was grateful someone brought this to their attention so they could purge the wolf in sheep’s clothing from among their many authors. Yet, I was not entirely satisfied given that I want all to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Instead, this man became even more ardent in his hatred towards Jesus and His church, and exclaimed in so many words he would continue to lure weak Christians into doubt and apostasy.
I went to God in prayer, confessed my sin and asked for His help in understanding how I may better handle this sort of situation in the future. The Lord’s response was to direct me to examine what Jesus did during His first ministry on earth as recorded in the Gospels.
Among all those who heard Jesus preach to the lost as He taught the people from Galilee to Jerusalem, were the Scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees who are often mentioned in the New Testament as those who dogged Him, argued with Him and attempted to expose Him as a fraud and NOT the Messiah. Eventually, since they could not destroy His ministry, they settled for His crucifixion.
By contrast, how did Jesus deal with them?
Jesus treated others the way He wished to be treated. He never responded in kind to their attacks, choosing instead to engage and provoke them in such a way that they exposed the intent of their own hearts. They were thus either exposed as ardently unrighteous or were called to proper righteousness and a sincere examination of their faith. He told them the Truth and most rejected it. Only a few of the Pharisees and the Temple faithful (Notably Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and the Scribe Jesus addressed in Mark 12:28-34) demonstrated they loved God first and sought after His Truth, which showed the real intent of their heart.
How then can we apply what Jesus did in our own lives today and help to reach as many of the lost as possible? How can we know when to plant seeds, and when to shake the dust off our sandals?
To begin with, understand you will be met by those who hated Him first. They will find you and try to persecute you in these public forums. Before responding, pray the Lord gives you insight and strength for the onslaught. Be strong in the WORD, ready to apply scripture to all manner of lies and hate that will be directed towards you. Understand the battle is spiritual and we are called as Christians to tell the Truth to the lost, come what may.
Develop an effective strategy to convey God’s Truth and don’t meet any attacks in kind. Refrain from unrighteous speech. Stick with comments and questions that will allow your tormentor to expose the intent of their heart. Above all, your words must convey sincerity you are offering God’s Truth in the spirit of love, not wanting anyone to go to Hell.
When it becomes clear they are not engaging with you for the purpose of helping you from love, then they have exposed their heart and REAL intent, which is their hatred for Jesus and by extension, their contempt for you. This is very often displayed as hate speech: ugly comments, name calling and attempts to humiliate you and elevate themselves at your expense. Remain composed and do not get caught up in word for word attacks.
Once they have exposed their Antichrist spirit – especially if they degenerate into blasphemy or truly vile hate speech – do not continue to cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6). Instead, make a statement that their comments are offensive and tell them you will prayerfully go to the Lord on their behalf, then bow out of the conversation. If you have knowledge of any Internet website or resource which may shed further light on the topic originally under discussion (before things degenerated into name calling, etc.) put it’s web address in your final comment so as to leave seeds planted for others who are sincerely looking for answers. They can use the link and visit the site. These are seeds that you can spread broadly and allow God to bring to fruition.
No matter how cruelly they treat you, refrain from the temptation of striking back. The Lord will do that, as we are instructed in Romans 12:19 “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.” God knows it is a difficult situation and is pleased when you are zealous for Him, yet not rise to the bait of the enemy. When tempted to respond in kind, remember if this person does not repent and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, they are sending themselves to a conscious and painful eternity in Hell, separated from God forever. Feel sorry for them; pity them. Recall that many of us were just as lost as the most hardened heart but for a truth spoken or seed planted at the perfect time.
The parable of the types of soils (Luke 8:5-15; Matthew 13:3-23 and Mark 4:3-32) is germane to seed planting, as we never know the condition of another person’s heart, as only God can. Weak or new Christians can experience doubts in their walk with God; and non-Believers may be searching for meaning in an otherwise secular and shallow existence. This is why it’s important to tell the Truth in love when planting seeds. The Lord does the rest.
But what about those who are so reprobate-minded, their Antichrist spirit leaves no room for God’s Truth?
In my opinion, one can still leave seeds behind for them, as that person may be exposed to many Christians leaving behind the same type seed. I like to think that all of the seeds left by Christians are so numerous they coalesce like a cloud of dust; the dust shaken off our collective sandals. So you’re not just leaving a non-Believer behind to their hellish fate; you’re leaving them with at least the remnant of a “cloud” of Truth, within which any tiny seed may hopefully penetrate the hardness of their heart. Over time and repeated plantings, one among the seeds may eventually take root. Praise God!
Additionally, when posting comments on the Internet, you are not having a private conversation with one person; there are many people reading the same comment thread, which include your comments, and that is another reason why it’s so important to plant seeds of Salvation! You never know which comment (seed) will get a lost soul’s attention, leading them down the road to accepting Jesus.
Recently, my postings have emphasized that we are living in the Last Days and the world is about to enter into the worst 7 years of human history, leading to the deaths of billions at the hands of Satan through His evil servants, the Antichrist and False Prophet. I try to explain that Hell is REAL and unless one seriously repents of their sins and asks Jesus to be their Lord and Savior, they are sending themselves to Hell for eternity. I think it’s very important to mention that time may be running out for millions of the Lost, who will be left behind to face this horror unless they repent.
The basic premise of an individual coming to an understanding that they’re a sinner who needs the substitution sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for their sins; confessing their sins to God and asking for Jesus’ Salvation and God’s gift of Grace, needs to be repeated over and over and over again! It is the Good News and Our Blessed Hope! Each word of this Truth is a seed that may yet be planted in the soil of a non-Believer’s heart, which over time and the Lord’s doing, may come into the Light.
Sharing this Truth is vital especially now, no matter how the enemy may attack you.
Who knows? You may very well meet someone in Heaven who read one of your posts.