Witnessing to Family Is Like Witnessing to Everyone Else . . . Only More So - page 2


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From the Winter 2014 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Witnessing to Family Is Like Witnessing to Everyone Else . . .
Only More So

by Randy Newman, M.Div.
Senior Teaching Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism, C.S. Lewis Institute

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The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who heard the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. (Mark 4:14–20)

  Note that the sower sows the same seed on different soils. You can say the exact same words, gift wrap the exact same books, share the exact same tracts, and doodle the exact same diagram on a napkin, and one relative will not even give you the time of day while another asks you to elaborate.
  Some of your relatives may be deceived by the devil so it feels like your words are falling upon deaf ears. Spiritually speaking, they are. Some respond positively at first, but after time, with the realities of life’s inevitable disappointments or pressures from skeptical outsiders, they show their true colors as ones who never really got it. Others show a similar positive response at first, but get sidelined by other things—not the negative ones, like trials or persecutions, but the positive ones, like prosperity, success, pleasure, and positive approval ratings from this world. It’s amazing how long those drugs can seem to satisfy.
  Ed must have wondered which soil represented his father. Even though Ed’s mother was a godly woman who brought her son to church every Sunday, his dad stayed at home and smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, and watched television. Ed shared two memories of what those Sundays were like: At church, he and his mother sat up in the balcony where they could hide due to the shame of not having the “man of the house” accompany them. (Such was the culture in parts of our country many years ago.) At home, his father was particularly grumpy on Sundays, more so than during the week.
  When Ed was in high school, his mother died, prompting further depression and destructive behavior by his father. So when Ed got the chance to escape and move away to go to college, he did just that, rarely going back home to visit the father he didn’t care for or respect. But then Ed came to faith in Christ during graduate school. All those seeds sown in church during his childhood apparently had fallen on good soil. Some seed takes more time to germinate than others. Ed’s heart toward his father started softening, prompting him to go home on weekends and visit.

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