Read Matthew 13:53-58.Speaking truth can be a lonely place to be. I've personally received some of the worst persecution as a believer from my own family member. I'm not exactly sure why that is - maybe it's familiarity. Our family and those who have lived around us have a difficult time of seeing us in any other light than the way we were before Christ. Therefore, to accept revelations that are new and foreign to them concerning the Christian life, sin, hell and heaven, can be clouded by personal history with the speaker.
"And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, 'Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.'" NIV
In Jesus' case, He was known to His town as a simple carpenter's son and now the same people He was raised among must view Him as a miracle worker and the Messiah. I can see how that could be a stretch for them. And sadly, he had to leave his town and not minister there. His words were falling on deaf ears.
Those around us don't have to make as quite a leap as Jesus' town did with Him. After all, we are not claiming to be the Messiah. But when you are declaring truths that are in opposition to the way people live, they can be very offended when the message is coming from someone they consider of their own kind.
Can we ever have influence over those people we were raised with? Absolutely. Is it tougher and take a longer period of time? Yes. Do we need to be gently persistent? Probably. But in many cases, we have to wash our hands of the situation and accept that we will not be the one to make a difference. This is so hard to do because we love those people so much and want to share the good news we have found with them. We can still be loving and gentle as Christ, but directness will have no affect. The point is to never give up. We can continue praying for our loved ones -- praying that God would bring someone into their life they will listen to and that their heart will be softened to the message the Holy Spirit is drawing them to. Meanwhile, we maintain the relationship and continue to love them.
- Jesus was not the only one who had little favor with those he was raised. Who else in the Bible dealt with that? (HINT: Genesis 6, 37)
- Do you have someone in your family/close friends that is in opposition to the gospel? Spend some concentrated time today in prayer for them and for how you are to deal with them. (i.e. approach them again with the truth, simply show love to them, shake the dust from your feet)