The Other One
Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” Ruth 1:14-15
Many people shut down when yelled at. That considered, why do we often try to strong-arm people into salvation?
I have sat through more than my fair share of fire and brimstone sermons. I have heard preachers (and other Christians) use all sorts of tactics trying to convince people of their sin: insults, shouting, guilt-trips… How often does this bring about true repentance? Less than we may think. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit and the Word that draws a person to the Savior. (Jonathan Edwards never yelled, but whispered his sermons.) Pretty simple.
When Naomi tried to send her daughters-in-law home, one stayed and one left. We’ve heard a great deal about Ruth, but what about Orpah? (Sound familiar? Oprah Winfrey was named after her, but there was a typo on her birth certificate.) I’ve been a bit confused about why Naomi didn’t try to keep Orpah with her, but her honesty did not turn Ruth away in the least.
In the New Testament, we read account after account of Jesus and later his disciples told people how difficult and deadly it would be for them as Christians. Jesus said that they would be persecuted for His Name’s sake. They were direct and honest. They used God’s Word appropriately. And as those seeds fell on soil, some of them took root in the form of true repentance and salvation.
So the next time you are frustrated that someone in your life continues to deny Jesus, remember Ruth and Orpah. Naomi didn’t cajole or guilt. She just told the truth and one believed and one didn’t. All we can do is live a life for Jesus while speaking the truth in love.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for choosing me to be Your child. Let the awe of that always be fresh in my heart. Forgive me for not trusting in Your sovereignty in regards to those who do not know You. Show me how to love them, because You have loved me. In Jesus precious Name, Amen