When I was eighteen years old, my dad died from cancer. My little brother, Elijah, was twelve.

Elijah shut down emotionally and would not speak to my mom, our older sister, or me about what he was feeling. It seemed there was no way to connect with him. People at church would pat him on the shoulder and say things like “God is going to use this for your testimony one day,” or “God’s going to take care of you,” but not ask what physical needs he might have had in that moment

For a long period of time it felt like people were saying things at us. But it didn’t seem like they really wanted to be with us.


How (Not) to Save the World: The Truth About Revealing God’s Love to the People Right Next to You

Do you want to fight for the people you love and show others how valuable they are to God? There is a way, and you are more equipped than you know.

Regular Price: $18.99

Sale Price: $13.29 (save 30%)

 


At eighteen I learned how not to speak to people who were hurting and grieving.  I had heard the best sermons growing up and was practically an expert at reciting message bullet points to people who were in need. But I realized I had not been good at listening to their needs, weeping with them while their hearts hurt, and intentionally immersing myself in what they were going through.

Here’s something I have learned: when we take time to learn someone’s lens of the world, and accept them right where they are, we can speak more effectively into their real life .

With my brother, there was only one thing he wanted to talk about. And that was comic books.

I didn’t know how to be there for my little brother perfectly. But I realized arguing with him wasn’t working, pressuring him wasn’t working, and trying to get him to step into my world wasn’t working.

So I stepped into his.

I became obsessed with comic books.

I learned to love what he loved. I learned how he saw the world. It was years of forming a relationship with Elijah through Marvel and DC Comics, through diving into secondhand comic bookstores and getting lost in cosmic universes together, throwing him superhero birthday parties, and years of going to every superhero movie premiere before he ever opened up to me about what he was feeling.

It didn’t happen overnight. It was about eleven years later when my brother told my husband and I that he wanted the joy we had, and the hope we had, and he was ready to give his life to Jesus.  Eleven years of learning who my brother was on a deeper level, caring about what he cared about, and investing in the relationship.

There had been so many times throughout the years when I wanted to give up on fighting for my brother—I was putting so much into this relationship and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right or really making a difference. There were so many times I almost stopped praying for my brother. But now? I’m so glad I never gave up. I’m so glad I never stopped praying.

Often, we can get mad at those in our lives who are not where we want them to be, aren’t as whole and healed as we want them to be, and we’re mad that they don’t see the world the way we see it. We can get impatient with the process. We prefer a quick-fix instead of consistently sitting with people, listening to their questions, and being with them.

But God wasn’t mad at us when we were far from Him.

Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

While we were broken, hurting, and far from God, God sent Jesus to step into our world. One of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, meaning God with us. He came to be with us in our real hurts, and with us in our real lives.

Many times our greatest witness will be our with-ness.

How are you coming alongside people and being with them, right where they are?

How is your with-ness with your family members? How is your with-ness with your coworkers? How is your with-ness with people online? With people at your church? With people in your community?


How (Not) to Save the World: The Truth About Revealing God’s Love to the People Right Next to You

Do you want to fight for the people you love and show others how valuable they are to God? There is a way, and you are more equipped than you know.

Regular Price: $18.99

Sale Price: $13.29 (save 30%)

 


From Romans 5:8, what do we learn about how we can effectively demonstrate God’s love to others? Before they love us, love them. Before they choose us, choose them. Before they come to us, go to them. Before they step into our world, step into theirs.

Fighting to be right? That’s the perfect plan of how not to save the world. It’s the perfect plan of how not to reveal God’s love. It’s the perfect plan of how to lose a relationship. We need to stop fighting to be right, and start fighting for our relationships.

It can be frustrating to pray for years and not see answers. It can be frustrating to invest in someone’s life for a long time, only to have them reject us, or reject the Jesus we want them to know. But friend, don’t give up on those you love.

Galatians 6:9 says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (NLT)

You and I may not do this perfectly. And that’s ok. The pressure is not on us to save the world. Jesus is the only one who saves lives, who restores families, who makes the impossible possible. We want to rely on His power, not our own. It’s actually amazing that Jesus is the Savior, and we are not. Now we can live in the freedom of sharing God’s love without the fear of the end results. What’s important is that we don’t give up.

For little brothers everywhere. For your coworker. For your roommate. For the barista at your favorite local coffee shop. For your neighbor across the street. Let’s choose to love them first. Let’s go and be with them. Let’s never give up.

_________________

This article includes excerpts from Hosanna Wong’s new book How (Not) to Save the World: The Truth About Revealing God’s Love to the People Right Next to You. This book teaches how to naturally share God’s love in your everyday life, and overcome the lies that hold you back so you can empower people to encounter a God they’ve never known. Visit www.hownottosavetheworld.com for more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.