“What do I do, the distressed woman sitting before me asked?” “What do you mean?” I asked, “Are you asking how to change him?” So often that is exactly what we want to know. How can I open the eyes of my loved ones and help them escape their bondage and destructive life?
Remember the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23)? Jesus told us that the soils represent different heart conditions. A hard heart rejects truth just as hard sun-baked soil rejects a sower’s seed. The rocky ground symbolizes a shallow response. The joyful response to God’s word is short-lived because there is no depth for firm roots to be established. The third soil was thorny. In this soil the worries of the world or the deceitfulness of riches choked out the word and it too remained barren. The fourth soil is the good soil that bears fruit in varying amounts.
Jesus explained the parable; He did not instruct us on how to improve the soil or change the heart. The parable reveals one of life’s mysteries — not every heart will respond to good seed. When someone doesn’t respond or their response is short lived, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the seed or the sower. It may mean it fell on poor soil. Our part is to sow the seed. Paul wrote that some plant and others water, but only God causes the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).
The seeds you sowed seem to have fallen on bad soil, now what? Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home” (Matthew 13:57). Perhaps the closeness of your relationship has brought resistance. Don’t dismay; Jesus tells us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers (Matthew 9:37-38). Humbly pray for a messenger to be sent to your loved one. You can pray with confidence because you know that God wants your loved one “to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
To witness a loved one in bondage is a heavy burden. Don’t add the responsibility of delivering or changing them. If Jesus could not do many miracles in his home area because of their unbelief, you can be sure He does not expect you to open your loved one’s eyes (Matthew 13:58). Give up trying to change them and ask God to send them a messenger and grant them a new heart. “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19).
What do we do when someone we love has hardened his or her heart? Give up the role of “savior” and commit them into the Savior’s hands. Ask God to send them a messenger and amend the soil of their hearts. Nothing is impossible with God.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.