“I don’t want to hear it…. I said no! I’m with my grandkids right now,” an older lady snapped at my friend. It was an unusually angry response to my friend’s cheerful greeting. But as we walked away, we both knew something more was going on.
“I was raised Baptist, but I stopped going to church a long time ago. Christians are hypocrites.”
“We have to get going. Sorry.”
These were all things my friend and I encountered at the mall as we were street evangelizing. We would start off each conversation by asking people if they knew how much God loved them, if they knew He had a wonderful plan for their lives. Many times we were met with openness. Other people were shy or surprised. Sometimes the stark contrast in responses was interesting: from a smile of familiarity to an outburst of anger. It reminded me of the parable in the Gospels about the great supper.
Jesus said in Luke 14:16-20:
“Then He said to him, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, “Come, for all things are now ready.”  But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.”  And another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.”  Still another said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”‘”New King James Version
During our time at the mall, more people were receptive to accepting Jesus than not. But it’s not fun being yelled at, especially when you know you’re offering someone the best gift in the universe.
In his Christian Survival Kit series, Andrew teaches about this very thing in a message called “How to Handle Persecution.” In it, he explains what’s really going on when you’re being persecuted. He says,
“People hated Jesus. If they hated Jesus, then if you are a true representative of Jesus, then they’re going to hate you. Not everybody, but certain people are…. If you are ministering effectively, the Holy Spirit is going to use your life and/or testimony to try [to] pressure a person to change, and if the person is receptive to God, then they’ll love you…. They’ll embrace you. They’ll look at you as a mentor, and they’ll receive you. And it will be a positive thing. But if the person is rejecting God, well, then they’ve got to reject you. Most people aren’t spiritual enough to be able to distinguish between [you and] the conviction they’re feeling come through you and…the power that’s behind you…. They’re just carnal. They’re looking at it as this is you that’s making them feel this way.”
Invitations for that great supper are still being sent out, and it’s for anybody who will accept it. “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled'” (Luke 14:23, NKJV). As long as you are being kind and respectful, don’t take it personally if your “supper” invitation is rejected. It’s like what Andrew says: “Persecution is a backhanded compliment.” God wants to have a full house, so make sure you bring your friends!
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