“When people stop listening, they have essentially told us to stop pursuing them.” Nicholas Batzig
Tim Challies in his blog on Wednesday shared a very insightful article entitled “When They Walk Away.” The author (Nicholas Batzig) does an excellent job of discussing the pain of watching someone we have invested in reject Christ, and why we shouldn’t pursue them.
The difficulty however is they often WANT us to pursue them, just not for the right reason
For months children have been coming by and interrupting Bible club. They would shout my name, walk in and back out, or bother the kids that were there. I didn’t do anything at first (our rule is “ignore the silly people”) but eventually started leading them outside of Church and down the road
This made Bible club run a lot smoother
But it was also a colossal mistake
Those children were basically playing a game of “catcha” (tag) with me that involved getting Mr. John to chase them out of Bible club. And every time teaching was set aside to escort them out I was playing their game.
While not all unsaved people are playing a game many are interested in receiving the blessings of the relationship (love, kindness) without any commitment. Nicholas Batzig responds to this by saying “There has to be a willingness on the part of the person we pursue to listen to the word of the God for whom we are pursuing them.”
This doesn’t mean we write people off after the first failure, but if it becomes a pattern of life we have a problem.
When someone you are pursuing stops coming to worship unless you call them incessantly, you can be fairly sure that they have refused to listen. When someone you have been seeking to disciple begins to make excuses about rescheduling meetings with you, they are essentially walking away
The hardest part is the moment you realize they aren’t listening, and have to let them go.
Last summer one of my best friends in Barrouallie (the first boy who came for a Bible story) began rebelling. Nothing serious just a bad attitude at first. But now love for attention means he’s too cool for Bible club, Church, or stories. Part of me wants to give him a “good talking to” and he wants me to pursue…but I can’t.
So instead of chasing him down the hill I stay behind and wait for the day God’s Spirit changes his heart. Till the day I can run down that hill and welcome him home.