All senior citizens at my home have lived through with certain belief system of their forebears… despite the fact that they are aware of my faith till date we never opened up …I feel distressing … their salvation is a great concern…all their years of journey has been all in vain… but ofcourse if they accept Jesus at this terminal point of life also that matters a lot…
I guess the best opening move for you in this case is to be there for them and listen to their stories all the while being prayerful and sensitive on what they have to tell and how to drive them to the Savior.
If the theme of their life stories is despare, give them hope; if complacency, give them accountability; if joy, give the fullness of joy.
Hello @Sodadasu Thank you for your post and your desire to see the ones you love accept Jesus.
May I ask you some questions? The purpose is to determine the approach that could be taken based on how these are answered.
Would you say your relationship with these senior citizens is a close relationship?
Do you know what their thoughts are regarding your faith in Jesus?
Are they accepting, hostile, indifferent, annoyed?
The type of relationship I have with people can determine what I will say and not say. It depends upon what I feel like the Holy Spirit is leading me to do. If we were close, I would open up more. If we were not, I would not say as much but try to live it out in front of them and ask Christ to make Himself known. Sometimes it is helpful to share what Christ has done in our life and how He has helped us and leave it at that. May the Lord give you wisdom through the Holy Spirit to know what to say and how to pray for each person in your home.
Dennis!! Thank you so much for responding!!They are so respectful in the society, many approach them for their ideals,we don’t speak to our elders but just follow them, but all that they are following is only idolatory… iam not afraid of others abandoning me but at this terminal point of their life they should face two truths …one which lets them down totally and the other sets them free… the first iam tensed about…
Thank you so much for responding!!
thank you for asking me very valid questions. Actually ,iam so close to them but not to the point that I will share with them anything but every time we only have to listen to them…They are so respectful in the society, many approach them for their ideals,we don’t speak to our elders but just follow them, but all that they are following is only idolatory… iam not afraid of others abandoning me but at this terminal point of their life they should face two truths …one which turns them down totally and the other sets them free… the first iam tensed about…
Indira, I share your heart. I would feel the same for my elders. I would want to honor them, too. God tells us to honor our parents. He wants us to honor all of our elders. I do not want to bring shame to their names.
You do not bring shame to them by believing the truth. You believe the truth. Therefore your fear for them as they get old honors them. You are true to them. You are bold. You live truth.
- Pray to our Creator and Judge and Healer to have mercy on them. Pray without ceasing. Pray in your heart every moment. Pray each time that you think of them. He will hear your prayers. You may not see what he does, but he who judges also heals. Pray!
- Love God more than anyone else who they know loves God.
- Love them more than anyone else loves them.
- Honor God more than anyone else who they know honors God.
- Honor them more than anyone else honors them, as long as this does not dishonor God.
- Serve them more than anyone else serves them, as long as they do not tell you to do anything that dishonors God.
- Feed them the best food that you know how to cook. Love makes the bitterest coffee sweet.
- Spend as much time with them as you can.
Indira, God hears your prayers. Your prayers rise to him like a sweet aroma of incense because you pray with great love in your heart. You honor him and your elders with them. You honor him and your elders with your life. God will reward you. You will see them in eternity.
Hi Indira @Sodadasu,
Thank you so much for posting your question about reaching our elderly members in a family of another faith with the love of Jesus. I can understand the barriers you face with the elderly, which can appear as though you are against tradition, authority and their wisdom that was gained over a life-time. Very often they are not interested in sorting out things intellectually but are concerned about the family they will leave behind, if they have lived their life well, the questions of afterlife, they are often seeking some comfort from younger family members into whose lives they invested their heart, time and talent and they have physical needs that present challenge to their daily living. So as others have suggested, we will need to understand their level of openness and their needs.
A few ways I have tried approaching the elderly are by offering to pray for any physical illness, asking about their life, sharing some stories from the Bible or even just directly reading scripture. It is okay to affirm some truths that they hold that are common to Christianity to establish a common ground, such as their desire to serve God and escape this world of suffering. But later, you could slowly introduce something that the Bible has to say about afterlife and escape from suffering. For example: The story of Lazarus and Jesus’s claim to resurrection in John 11 or the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 are great entry points to several discussions about afterlife. If not for historically proven resurrection, Christ’s claims to giving us life would be meaningless.
Its always very important that they see our love for them every step of the way. We have to share our understanding in small portions according to their interest or we will end up building walls rather than bridges. I have also received a listening ear from elders when I share some things that I have experienced personally because of faith in Jesus. Fasting and prayer is also very helpful to enter into difficult conversations.
Today I was reading Ps 24:3-6 and thought it may be another helpful resource as it talks about idolatry and afterlife. You could get into the discussion of the Psalm by starting a conversation with something like - Do you ever think of afterlife? Who do you think deserves to be with God? Can I share what the Bible says about afterlife?
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
As you read something about idolatry and false gods, its sure to raise some questions for them and you will probably experience some resistance. But you can explain how God loves us as His bride. Just as in a marriage where love with an undivided heart shows our faithfulness, so it is in our relationship with God our maker. An idol doesn’t take care of us as God can. If God loved us only based on our services to an idol, how do we know God’s love us? Is it really love if it is based on what we can do? You can point out the love your elders have shown others and how they do it selflessly. If we as evil people know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more God? (Luke 11).
There can be so many different questions once you start a conversation about faith. Our daily walk is a time to build on those answers. So, take it easy, slowly with a lot of prayer as others have shared. May God fill you with His perfect love for the boldness and wisdom you will need for these conversations. I hope this gives you some ideas.
I will share few moments I
experienced and experience now and then….so that you will have a deep insight
and respond in the way God speaks to you even to guide me ….those were the
initial days …despite completing 14 yrs of sincere relationship as wife
begetting two sweet ones ,a girl and a boy … I confessed my husband that I never
loved him as I never knew the love of
GOD…Jesus Christ …and It is only today I realized this(He just smiled thinking
I am being emotional because I was back
to normal after the boy’s incident ) Turbulence actually started then in my
life……I thought I was Ms Perfect…no teenage issues ,highly disciplined ,very
systematic ,so responsible, all the virtues a very well behaved girl should be
having and of course very proud that I know the rules and regulations so need
not have to bend to any ….Best Science Teacher Awarded…No look back in life ….but
i fell from top to the ground and started everything from zero in Lord…with
whom will I share …??? my Two sweet little ones were there looking and
listening to my narration of my new experiences in Jesus as fairy tales….both
started talking with Jesus …one day Husband noticed my little girl keeping
some book under her pillow and he checked …to his shock it was Holy Bible….he
threw it and he screamed took car keys threw mobile and started to walk out….my
little boy assembled the mobile as quickly as he could and gave to his dad….he
took and walked out of home at 11.30pm….all three were crying not knowing what
to do …a full scroll came in front of me …what an honourable family reputation
they have but what is this now she killed him for what a silly reason ….for
GOD???..Then stopped imagining all that …kneeled down opened Holy Bible …got the verse in Mathews about
the lost sheep …I told kids not to cry now but pray as satan is waiting out
there near the window seeing if we three will leave GOD at this point …and I told
them we three have to stand for GOD and God will bring dad back….whole night we
were praying …I called husband …he was drunk and was shouting on top of his
voice….somehow ….by God’s grace he returned at 3.45am ….he slept and we three
also lay near him …morning 8.00we got up and told me Indira …whatever you want
to do with your GOD you do but don’t let that GOD touch me or my kids…you do
whatever but do not ever try to share anything about Him ….since that day my
little boy got so scared and till date that incident made such a deep impact
that he turned away from GOD…. One more subsequent incident …husband saw me
going to Church on GOOD FRIDAY ….that night he came boozed and tore the HOLY
BIBLE……seeing these two incidents my boy till date dislikes God ….My daughter
on other hand did not leave God …she and me only share our joy in Christ and
every moment He takes care of us …gives His company…
Indira, thank you for sharing what is happening. I have been praying for you and now I know what to pray about. Someone close to me is experiencing a similar thing.
Thank you for sharing your story, Indira! My heart goes out to you. It is evident that you love Jesus deeply, and that He is moving through you to touch those around you. I think you have been given some very helpful suggestions for how to minister to those who are your elders and who are in your care. I pray that your son and your husband will have their eyes opened to the good news of Jesus. You bear a treasure (the Lord Jesus) that shines forth to those around you. Hold fast sweet sister! Keep following Jesus! Keep praying for your family and your elder! God will complete the work! I rejoice that your daughter is holding fast and is a strength to you!!!
Thank you all so much each of you my brothers and sisters in Lord …the way i am received by you all is so valuable …I started praying for all you my siblings in Lord…yes!! suggestions mean a lot for me and i am trying to imbibe them first …I eagerly wait to receive the Word of God from you all …thank you all again …
Indira do you have another copy of the Bible that you can read?
Dear Indira @Sodadasu,
Appreciate you sharing the experience you are going through. I would just encourage you to keep hope for the salvation of your loved ones. What seems impossible to man is possible with God! Based on what you have shared, it seems like there is no openness in the family to the Bible or the gospel at this time. How can we get that needed openness to the gospel? It’s just going to be through prayer and our witness in Christ. It can take time for the situation to turn around and hopefully it’s not too long. I pray for hope, strength and perseverance for you in the mean time. As many as you can gather to pray for your cause, the better! I hope you have some local Christian friends who can support you in prayer too.
Many a times being vocal about our faith when there is no openness at all only leads to more problems and makes it almost impossible to live peaceably at home. I think there are times to practice our faith silently. We can just respond the best we can in Christ to every situation and the family members may then begin to respect our faith and perhaps even seek to understand it. As a young Christian, I too had to hide the bible and prayed when no one was around in odd places. Now I have all the freedom to read the Bible but I know God was even more real to me in those early years of faith when I didn’t have as much freedom. God is with you through all that you are going through and I believe He will speak to you on how and when to share the gospel with your family as you turn to Him.
I praise God that you can practice your faith. Kids can pick it up from you as you speak to them being inspired by the Bible. You could also read the Bible to your kids when no one is around using a bible app if possible. I trust that God will lead you through this! May God remove every blindness that keeps your family members from knowing Christ. Will be praying for God’s intervention in your situation. If I can think of anything else, I will surely respond later. God bless you! Thank you for trusting this community with your situation.
This really spoke to me.
Amen!!! Hallelujah!!! Praises to the Lord Almighty!!! Thank you so much all my brothers and sisters in Christ…
Yes Brother Brenden!!! I do have Holy Bible and I made it a point that every year I take a new Holy Bible for myself ,everyday I read three chapters and every month actually for two years I have given Holy Bible to a Non-Christian. Since last year I could not do this …I am praying God … My sincere thanks to you for the concern you have on me in Christ … Amen
This is great that you are looking for ways to share the gospel with a group of people who are in need of this hope!
What has helped me in different situations is to develop close friendships with people, as others have mentioned, and look for opportunities to gradually bring up spiritual matters in conversation.
Another great thing to do is to pray for the Lord to give you opportunities for gospel conversations. You can always pray for more opportunities, for the right words to say, and for hearts to be receptive.
Amen!! Praises to God!!Thank you dear for your encouraging words. God bless you.