It is no revelation that pastors talk a lot. And having been a pastor for quite a long time, I want to tell you, words are weak. You’ve discovered it yourself. You have tried to tell someone something. And chances are, they would not listen. It seems at times that the more you tell them, the less likely they are to listen.
We must come to the conclusion that our words are weak. We cannot shape the hearts of our hearers, whether friends, foes, or families, merely by our words. They are like water off a duck’s back. They are like darts off a brick wall. It often seems like spitting into the wind, upwind.
This does not mean that we should not speak. The truth should be verbalized by parents and friends and pastors, at the right time, in the right way, with the right attitude. And we will make mistakes. But we must try. Because to withhold the truth is cruel and deadly, even though sharing the truth carries no guarantee that it will be received with either gratefulness or responsiveness.
And a good part of the reason that we go ahead and speak the truth against all odds is because of “the power of the Word.” God is truth, and, as the old “Battle Hymn” says, “His truth is marching on.” Every once in a while, the powerful wind of His word catches the limp sail of our weak words and carries them home, deep into the heart that seemed to be locked against any good influence.
When God wills for His Word to penetrate, there is no defense against it. The water off the ducks back now changes the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. Is there a free will? Yes, indeed, set free by God’s powerful Word from the stubbornness of ignorance and resistance, set free to hear and respond and love and live.