We often find ourselves praying for people who just don’t seem to want to change. We pray with them, preach at them, support them emotionally and even financially, and give them every possible brochure available to help them see things the way they should……..the way we believe they should. And when time goes on and there’s no evidence of change, our desire to help them begins to fade and we pat ourselves on the back and say, “Well, we tried so let’s move on.”
But there is no glory to God when our attitude is vain.
People are not all the same and some carry heavy, unseen burdens. They have come from a selection of cultures, endured a range of upbringing from loving to abusive, and have even suffered hardships that are beyond our knowledge or ability to understand. Even people who share similar backgrounds and social realms, and who appear to have much in common, don’t always have the insight to each other’s hidden fears and inhibitions.
So, what does God expect us to do when we’ve done everything we know to help someone but who isn’t responding? Do we cast them off and leave them to work it out themselves? We may feel that way at times but if Jesus gave up before He got to the cross, where would WE be? The sacrifice of Jesus is the epitome of love, and God tells us that even though we do all the right things, if we don’t do them in love it will get us nowhere.
Sometimes people are crying for help inside, yet we can’t hear it. Hurts and torments that we don’t see, that we can’t know about, are burdening them down and guilt or unforgiveness is preventing them from being free. We need to work in love, and instead of casting them away we need to draw them in closer and pray for them fervently that God will set them free from their burdens. Sometimes it requres a lot of prayer and fasting to break the bonds that are holding them captive, and although it can seem like an endless task, the angels in Heaven rejoice when that person is finally free.
Perfect love casts out all fear, and so when we set out to help someone and we do it in love and not as a duty or Christian obligation, the ones we are praying for and working with will sense God’s love and the burdens will slowly melt away from them, setting them free and able to receive all that God has for them.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth nothing.” …….1 Cor.13:3