From time to time I need to remind myself what Matthew 10:14 looks like. The verse reads, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
For 42 years now, with varying degrees of personal conformity to Scripture, I’ve desired and endeavored to honor God by being willing to put myself out there by being willing to put biblical truth out there as various opportunities to do this became available. Here’s a summation of what I’ve experienced:
With regard to evangelism and pre-evangelism; in one form or another, often non-believers in Jesus want to engage in a I’m ok/you’re ok at the end of day who can really know who are you to judge exchange of words that doesn’t seem to lead to anything particularly constructive.
With regard to believers in Jesus and attempts to have a truly substantive discussion of an edifying theological nature; far too often such individuals really don’t want to go there; and if they are willing to go there, it’s not unusual for people to have difficulty disagreeing without being disagreeable. Sometimes this seems to reflect a tendency to react to a respectful and honest interaction and critique of one’s conclusions, and how one reached those conclusions, as being a personal attack on one’s character. In this respect both believers and non-believers are often quite similar to one another. Stepping outside our self a bit in order to take a close look at our worldview is uncharted waters for most of us. Generally speaking, the cultures and communities we grow up in don’t encourage and equip us to reflect and engage in this way.
Perhaps this sounds a bit harsh and somewhat cynical. If so, I understand how these comments could be perceived like that. But honestly I’m just trying to express what I have found to be so in my interactions with a fairly broad range of folks over the years. And certainly some of the tendencies I speak of have been reflected in my own behavior as well. But like anyone else, I’m engaged in a process and journey that hopefully is resulting in progressive spiritual growth and increasing emotional maturity. And so when I come back to Messiah’s words in Matthew 10:14; it reminds me that the value of one’s ministry isn’t determined by the amount of positive human response one receives, but rather it is divinely validated when one demonstrates a long term commitment to communicate truth regardless of the response one receives.