When Disappointment Hits
I don’t know about you, but I often heard, in those motivational evangelism talks throughout CU, that we should invite our friends to check out Christianity because 'what’s the worst that can happen?' They say no…
Well, okay, I see your point. But it’s not just a little bit awkward when they say no. It can be seriously demoralising.
On a bad day, it can really knock you for six.
You spent days, maybe even weeks, building up the courage to ask them along to an event. You mentioned them in a prayer group at CU and everyone knows you’re going to invite them. You can’t go back and tell them you chickened out! But when they time comes to invite your friend, they couldn't care less. They shrug it off like you’ve just asked them if they want some more tea.
And then you go to the event and your course-mate has brought four friends and they all sit and have long chats after the talk. The talk which would have been perfect for your friend. But you’re just loitering by the cake table hoping to find a job to do so no one notices you didn’t bring anyone.
Being disappointed here sounds pretty reasonable, right? But I want you to stop, read the last paragraph again and think about why you’re disappointed. It’s because your CU prayer group will ask whether your friend came. Because your friend brought loads of people and you didn’t bring anyone. Because everyone in the room can see that you came alone to an evangelism event. It’s because you look like a rubbish Christian compared to everyone else.
But that’s just it, isn’t it? I’m disappointed because I’ve compared myself with others, and I don’t like what I see. I don’t think I need to ask if you see this approach to evangelism in yourself.
But there’s another kind of disappointment. It’s because a person you care about isn’t showing any interest in Jesus. It can be really tough to watch those you love walk in darkness. You’re disappointed because you wanted them to come to the event, meet Jesus for themselves and join His family with you. I would be concerned if you weren’t disappointed!
It is a necessary attribute of evangelism that it hurts you when others say no, and it is a beautiful gift of God that you care about the lost. David often expressed anguish when it seemed as though everyone around him was rejecting our Lord.
“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one good, not even one…
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!”
This second disappointment is not foolish, but it is also not benign. It brings forth action. How do we deal with the hurt and demoralisation the word “no” can bring?
It is truly sad that your friend didn’t come to the event. But is your disappointment believing that this event was the only chance for them to hear about Jesus? Are you disappointed because you believe no one will ever invite them to an event again?
Remember this: That event was an opportunity for your friend to meet Jesus, not the opportunity. As evangelists, we need to be comfortable with the fact that God is the author of our friends' lives. Perhaps we are only a character in one chapter, and they find Christ in a later chapter. Perhaps not.
Either way, it is not your responsibility to bring your friend to Christ...
It is your calling.
Knowing that God can lead them to Christ without us, does not render you exempt from the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). Do not let your disappointment become despair. So they said no today. But there’s always another opportunity.
What about next time?
Originally from Cambridge, Abby graduated in Psychology from Sheffield University. After spending some time in the States studying biblical counselling with CCEF, Abby is hoping to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology! After becoming a Christian at 20 years old, she has loved getting more involved with More Precious ever since and seeing the fruit of its ministry!