From Devotions for the Beach
“If any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”–Mark 6:11
Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop. Listen to the sound your f lip-f lops make: your foot grips to them as sand swooshes in and out between your heel and the sole. Sometimes the sand feels nice as it glides through, but eventually, it annoys and aggravates—kind of like when we are rejected after having shared the gospel.
Today’s scripture refers to an ancient Jewish practice of shaking the dust off their feet after passing through a Gentile-populated area to indicate that Gentiles did not influence them. For Jesus to suggest that this practice be upheld for Jews who reject the Good News, then, sent a clear message that His followers would remain separate from them too.
There are two things we need to be mindful of when we share Christ with someone and she does not accept Him; first, her rejection is not of us, but of God (1 Thessalonians 4:8); and secondly, it’s possible that she may return to Him later (Philemon 15–16). We cannot “save” anyone; nor are we guaranteed that any part of our message will be received—all we are called to do is deliver it. Arguing or retaliating isn’t necessary—their ears, hearts, and minds are closed, and this kind of reaction does not represent our Jesus.
But what if the one who rejects Him is a close friend or family member? We can’t exactly walk away, and we may endure a bit of hostility further on. Love them, anyway. Stay above the ridicule, work to avoid any conflicts. They don’t understand why you’re “that way,” and resentment will assuredly come—after all, shouldn’t you be angry with them? Joy and agape love may be foreign concepts to them—but as a believer, they aren’t to you. And we know that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). So love them anyway.
You have done your part—now let God do His. He doesn’t owe us any further explanation. Shake it off.
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