You didn’t! No way! The other day my husband told me this outrageous story about a guy. I did not believe him because the story just sounded so outrageous. There is no way he was telling me the truth. This is what many peoples unbelief in Jesus is like. It is just a story that sounds so outrageous. They do not believe. As it says in John 12:39-43…
“For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
I have asked the question why? When someone has heard the gospel why do they not believe? As it says in John it is because there eyes are blind and their hearts are hardened. So what does it take for someone with spiritual blindness and a hardened heart to change. When Jesus walked on earth he often performed miracles to open peoples eyes. His providing for peoples physical needs often softened hearts. His display of love and grace is ultimately what healed people.
After Jesus death, resurrection and rising into heaven the apostles went about the globe doing the same thing. I have meet people in this world that have heard about Jesus yet they do not believe. Many of them will make comments like, “I will believe in God if I experience him.” Ultimately they are describing the fact that they are blind. For when I look around the world I see God’s handiwork everywhere. What do we do in these cases? They have heard the gospel. But they do not believe.
Only God can open the eyes of the blind. He does it through prayer. All we can do as believers is love them, show them God’s grace and pray, pray, pray. For God’s love and grace displayed through his followers is what softens hardened hearts and it is the Holy Spirit that will lift the blinds so that the person can see. So what do we do? We love, love and love. We show grace, grace and grace. We pray, pray and pray.
If you have relationships in your life with people that cannot see and have hardened hearts. Love them. Show them grace and pray for them. Love, show grace and pray. Fighting only makes the heart harder. Forcing them to believe something they do not believe will cause rebellion. Jesus never manipulated, forced or coerced someone into believing him or following him. He showed love, grace and prayed. He offered. He left the door open. This is ultimately the basics of what it means to live as a Christian. To live as Christ lived. Love, show grace and pray.