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Many of us have shared the gospel with people we love, only to have them respond very badly. You look back on it and wonder, what if I had done things differently? What if I had said this, or not done that? And, deep down, you feel that, in some way, it is your fault that they don't believe.

If you have ever felt this way, then hear me now. It is not your fault that your loved one is unsaved. You are not to blame for their unbelief.

How can I say this with such assurance, not even knowing the particulars of your situation? I do so on the authority of sacred scripture. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. You can plant a seed; you can water it; but only God can make it grow. It is not given to you to save anyone.

And since you cannot save anyone, you cannot be to blame for their being unsaved. Whatever guilt you have carried inside over this, lay it down now. You are free of it. This burden was . . .

Many of us have shared the gospel with people we love, only to have them respond very badly.  You look back on it and wonder, what if I had done things differently?  What if I had said this, or not done that?  And, deep down, you feel that, in some way, it is your fault that they don't believe.

 

If you have ever felt this way, then hear me now.  It is not your fault that your loved one is unsaved.  You are not to blame for their unbelief.

 

How can I say this with such assurance, not even knowing the particulars of your situation?  I do so on the authority of sacred scripture.   No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.  You can plant a seed; you can water it; but only God can make it grow.  It is not given to you to save anyone.

 

And since you cannot save anyone, you cannot be to blame for their being unsaved.  Whatever guilt you have carried inside over this, lay it down now.  You are free of it.  This burden was never meant for you to bear.

 

Perhaps you are wondering, ?If it wasn't my fault, why couldn't I get through to them?   The answer is found in the opening verses of Mark, Chapter 6.  It wasn't the strangers who had a hard time believing Jesus, it was the people closest to him!  The boys he played with as a child, now grown into men; the families who had been friends with his family for generations.  The people who knew him best, were the ones who believed in him the least.

 

Let me apply this passage to your life today.  The better you know someone in the natural, the more difficult it is for them to receive from you in the spiritual.  We are told elsewhere that Jesus? own family thought him mad; just as people in your family may have thought you strange or even crazy for what you believe.

 

So what do you do when your loved ones reject the gospel?   It's a question I wrestled with for a long, long time.  I have a very personal story to share with you... the story of my own family, who did not believe.

 

I was born into a Jewish home, the only son of Morton and Juliet Dvores.  My father had been raised as an orthodox Jew, so I grew up in a family steeped in tradition.  At an early age, I decided that modern day Judaism was all form and no substance.  I didn't see God, just religious ritual.  And if God wasn't real, what was the point?

 

My father and I came to an understanding... While I lived under his roof, I would obey his rules, but when I left, I was free to do as I pleased.  And so I kept kosher, went to 5 years of Hebrew school, observed all the family rituals, and believed none of it.

 


I met my wife Marilyn at college.  Her Jewish upbringing was far less strict than mine, but to my parents the important thing was, she was Jewish.  We got married in a traditional Jewish ceremony.  That was the last thing we did to please the family..

 

Five years later, in Charlottesville, VA, God revealed Himself to us, and we were both born again.  (My testimony is also posted on this site, and well worth finding!)

 

After we were born again, the most pressing decision for me to make was how to tell my parents.  You see, with orthodox Jews, if a person ?converts? to Christianity they are considered a traitor to their own race.  The traditional response is to hold a funeral and bury the person in effigy.

 

To prevent that from happening, I carefully planned how to break the news.  I was in my 3rd year of Law School, and dad came down to for a weekend visit.  Mom was in poor health and couldn't make the trip.  Bracing myself for the worst, I told my father that I believed in Jesus.

 

But instead of the anger and deep disappointment that I expected, he said, 'son, a man needs faith and hope to get through this life.  I know that for your whole life you haven't had these things.  Now, I see that you do.  So even though you don't believe what I do, I'm happy for you. 

 

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I never expected such an understanding response.  Encouraged, I set about proving to dad from the Old Testament that Jesus is the Messiah.  That entire weekend, I witnessed to him from the scriptures, convinced that he was 'this close?, and that if I just found the right argument, he would become a believer too...  I had a lot to learn.

 

On the car ride back to the airport, he said to me, 'son, I sense that you're disappointed that I haven't come to believe what you do.  But think about it from my perspective for a moment.  I'm nearly 80 years old, and my whole life I've believed that Jesus was not the Messiah.  What's more, my father and his father, and their fathers before them all did not believe in Jesus.  And now you come along, the youngest of us all, saying that all of us are wrong, and you alone are right.  How can you expect me to believe that??               

 

I turned to him and said, 'dad, we have had a wonderful weekend together.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to talk with me about what I believe, and my faith in Jesus. What would have happened if you tried to have a conversation with Jesus with your father??

 

He laughed. ?Conversation?  The moment I even mentioned the name of Jesus, he would have slapped me in the face.  That would have been the end of our conversation?


 

'suppose your father tried to talk with his father about Jesus.  What would have happened??

 

'same thing, only he would have slapped him twice as hard.?

 

'dad, don't you see... what we have here is not each generation of our family independently studying the scriptures to decide for themselves.  It is 2000 years of ignorance!   I am the first in our line who has had the freedom to consider the claims of Jesus.  I have studied the scriptures.  And I am here to tell you today that Jesus is the Messiah of our people!?

 

He had no response to that...  It was a good beginning.

 

Later that year, I finished law school and we moved to Orlando.  Not long after, dad retired and my parents moved here also.  Dad was 80, and mom was very ill, so I felt time was growing short.  Every week, I went over there and talked to them about Jesus.  They would listen attentively, ask questions that showed they understood what I was saying, but it never seemed to make any difference.

 

While this was going on, dad became good friends with his financial advisors, Charles & Frances Shafe, both very strong Christians.  They shared the gospel with him many times, but his response would always be, ?Well, that was interesting... let's talk about something else.?

 

One evening, years later, I asked my dad, ?If I could prove to you that Jesus was the Messiah, would you put your trust in him??

 

His answer was no!  He said, 'son, I'm an old man now, I've led a full life.  I've believed the same thing for nearly 85 years.  I could die tomorrow and be happy.  Why would I change??

 

That was the day I realized there was nothing more I could say.   I cried out to God,  'my parents have heard it all, and still they don't believe.  They're going to die soon, and they don't know Jesus.  God, what do I do??

 

It was then the idea came to me to put everything I was feeling into a song for my parents.  The words just poured out of me.  The music took longer.  But finally it was ready and I brought the tape over for my parents to hear.  Dad said he liked it.  Mom didn't say anything.  She couldn't stop crying.

 

Later that week dad called and told me, 'mom's been sitting at the kitchen table listening to your tape.  She cries her heart out all the way through, then she hits the rewind button, and starts it all over again....  And she's been doing that for the last 3 days!?

 


Music can touch the soul of a person in ways that words alone cannot.  Something had at last broken through a barrier in my mother's heart.  But still my parents were not saved.

 

Years went by, and I continued to prayed for their salvation.  I would sing the song I wrote to the Lord, telling Him that no matter how many times they said no, I still believed that He would save them.

 

Finally, the inevitable happened.  After a lifetime of wonderful health, my dad was dying.  He was scheduled to have an operation, which even if successful, would only prolong his life for a few weeks.  I met with him that morning in the hospital to see where he was spiritually. There was no change.  I was with him in his last moment of consciousness, and I knew, as much as any of us can ever know, that if dad died, he would be separated from God forever.

 

I met the surgeon out in the hallway, and learned there had been a mistake and the wrong surgery had been scheduled.  The operation was scrubbed, and the doctor took me aside.  He said, ?You've got 2 choices.  Your dad's being kept alive by life support.  If we disconnect it, he?ll die quickly; he may not even wake up.  Your other choice is to send him to a nursing home to die, in which case he?ll live another week or two.  He gave you his power of attorney.  It's up to you.?

 

This was the heaviest decision I have ever had to make.  Dad had clearly told me that he did not want to go into a nursing home.  But if I sent him there, at least there would be a chance that he could get saved.  How could I give the order to end his life, knowing what would happen to him when he died?

 

I made my decision and called up the doctor.  He wasn't in, so I left the message:  ?Pull the plug.  Let my dad die.?  You see, as much as I hated the choice he had made, I had to accept that it was his choice to make and not mine.   I then called Charles and Frances, left a message telling them of my decision, and went home to wait for the call that my dad was dead.

 

As I paced back in forth in my living room, I remember crying out to God, ?I've trusted in you all these years!  I never stopped believing that, even though it might take a long time, in the end, my parents would be saved.  Well, this is the end, Lord!  There is no more!  How will I ever sing that song to You again??

 

An hour later, the phone rang, but it wasn't the call I had been expecting.  Charles and Frances got my message before the doctor did.  They raced back to the hospital, and went up to my dad's room.  He was unconscious from the anaesthesia.  They called his name over and over, and patted him on the arm until he woke up.

 


Once his mind was clear, Frances looked him straight in the eye and said, ?Now Mort, you know that prayer we've been telling you about and your son's been telling you about all these years.  This is it; you have got to decide.  Do you want to go to heaven??

 

My dad nodded.

 

?Are you ready to pray that prayer with me now??

 

He nodded again.

 

?Okay.  I know you can't talk anymore because of all the tubing in your throat, so I'm going to speak for you.  I want you to take hold of my hand, and every few words I want you to squeeze my hand if you're praying along with me on the inside.?

 

And so, a few words at a time, Frances led my father through the sinner's prayer.  At the end, she said to him, 'mort, if you prayed that prayer all the way through, I want you to nod your head to let me know.?  And he did.

 

When Frances told me that news, I just lost it.  You see, when I gave the order to disconnect the life support, in my mind, dad was dead.  After I thought him dead, God saved my father.  The arm of our Lord is never too short to save.

 

A year later, Marilyn and I were with my mom for Thanksgiving, and Marilyn began to talk about God.  I know what it sounds like when Marilyn witnesses.  This was not Marilyn talking.  When we got home, there was a message waiting for us.  Mom wanted us to know that she prayed to receive Christ.  A year later, she too was with the Lord.

 

I'd like to play for you now the song I wrote for my parents, and that I've sung to the Lord ever since. It's been my prayer, and I hope that you will make it yours, too.   The song is called, ?Even This.?

 

The surprise ending to the story is that here I am giving this testimony of my parent's salvation, and I didn't lead either of them to the Lord.  That wasn't the role that God had called me to.  My role was to believe God for their salvation.  Throughout the long years of their unbelief, no matter what they said or did, I never stopped trusting that God would save them.

 

And perhaps this is the role that God has for you... to stand in the gap, trusting in God for the salvation of the one that you love.

 

? Harris Dvores, 1991

Harris Dvores is a corporate lawyer in Orlando, Florida.  But only from 9 to 5.  For more than 20 years, he has pursued his passion to create: everything from Christian music and church skits, to Star Trek scripts and board games.  His new website, www.harrisdvores.com, is a playground for the mind and spirit.  A Jewish believer, Harris has been given truly amazing stories to share about the power of God.

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