I had worked with Kate at a restaurant waiting tables. We had classes together in college. We were even lab partners in biology.
Our friendship grew as we spent more and more time together. She shared with me about her boyfriend drama. I shared with her about church and God.
She quickly knew I was a Christian. Slowly, she showed more and more interest in this “church thing.” Before I knew it, Kate was joining me for my Thursday night college church group. She sat crying during service one night.
She began asking pointed questions about Jesus and salvation. Her own salvation seemed eminent. But then I messed up the whole darn thing and made one the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made as a Christian.
As Kate continued to attend church with me and ask questions, I tried to play it cool. I was available, receptive, loving. I felt like, “Yeah, I’m doing a good job with this whole witnessing and looking like Jesus thing.”
However, as time wore on and she kept returning to the destructive relationship with her boyfriend, I grew frustrated and discouraged. More than that, I got antsy and as it turns out, getting antsy is no way to display Christ.
One night after a college group service, wherein Kate once again cried and became quite emotional, we found ourselves in my car sitting in the parking lot. I started to ask her if she was “ready,” you know, “ready to accept Jesus.” She said “no.” I understood, or so I thought. She just needed more time, that’s all.
So, I gave her time…sorta. I gave her maybe a week and then found myself, once again asking the same question. This time her answer was different. This time she said, “Don’t ever ask me again if I’m ready.” I felt like I was punched in the stomach. I had the wind knocked out of me.
Where did I go wrong, I wondered. Hadn’t I been the perfect patient, loving, available Christian? Hadn’t she been emotionally moved by the Spirit on numerous occasions and asking the right questions? Wasn’t her salvation due?
I complied, of course and never asked her if she was ready to receive Christ again. Just thinking of it makes me shudder. How naive I was. How forceful and aggressive. How I blatantly disregarded the heeding from the Holy Spirit. This was the Nicole show. I was going to bring her to Jesus, not Jesus bringing her to Himself.
I failed…huge. My friendship with Kate was never quite the same following that night. She felt somewhat betrayed and pressured, I assume. I felt shameful and embarrassed. Things became awkward.
Later, when I had the opportunity to redeem the situation, I once again failed. Kate called me one night and asked me to drive her to her boyfriend’s house. I refused. I found him to be so vile and bad for her that I flat out said “no.” Looking back, I wonder if that is really how God would have had me respond? I doubt it, considering my answer was all flesh and no Spirit.
Since my failure with Kate, I have learned a lot. I know that I do not have the ability to make anything happen, but I sure can mess things up. God turns hearts. The Spirit convicts men. Jesus woos. We have the opportunity to be available, obedient, and led by Him. I was led by my flesh and the result was a girl on the brink of meeting and intimately knowing her Messiah.
What resulted, thanks to my pushy attitude, was a broken friendship and a heart full of regret. I still pray for Kate. It has been almost 8 years and I still pray for her. I pray that she won’t give up on Jesus just because I gave up on her. I pray He finds her, despite my unwillingness to truly see her. I pray…
What has been your biggest Christian failure? When did you refuse or fail to see God, listen to God, or trust God? What was the result? What have you learned?