While stubbornness isn't always a negative quality, it can spiritually destroy those who continually turn their back on God and insist on living apart from Him, evangelist Billy Graham has warned.
The 97-year-old Baptist pastor shared his thoughts in a column for the Kansas City Star in response to a question from a reader, who revealed that the fear of giving up their freedom was preventing them from embracing Christianity.
"It's not always wrong to be stubborn, of course, not if we're stubborn about the right things," Graham responded. "Someone, for example, who stubbornly refuses to do wrong is to be commended. We also rightly honor those who stubbornly work against the odds to overcome poverty or hunger or racism, and try to make the world a better place. The Bible says, 'Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong' (1 Corinthians 16:13)."
However, the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association warned that stubbornness can also destroy those who refuse to list to advice or change their ways - even when they're wrong. Even worse - a stubborn attitude will spiritually destroy those who continue to turn their back on God and live apart from him.
To make his point, Graham quoted Jeremiah 7:24, which reads, "The prophet Jeremiah said of the people of his day, 'They followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.'"
"Don't let this happen to you," the pastor concluded. "Instead, turn to Jesus Christ and by faith commit your life to him. Then ask him to help you overcome your desire to run your own life and to change you instead into someone who is determined above all to live for Christ and follow him."
Graham has in the past warned about the dangers of stubborn unbelief, using the example of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ to the Sanhedrin for thirty silver coins.
"Judas' real problem was that he was interested only in himself and what he could gain by following Jesus. Instead of committing his life to Jesus, he allowed greed and envy to rule his heart and mind," the pastor wrote earlier this year. "His unbelief fed his greed, and his greed fed his unbelief...Judas stands forever as a warning of the dangers of stubborn unbelief. And in the end, Judas lost everything, even his life."
Billy Graham is one of North Carolina's most famous sons and has made the annual "Most Admired" list a record 58 times.The evangelist grew up in Charlotte and currently resides in Montreat, North Carolina. In addition to advising numerous political leaders, Graham is known for his crusades that brought the gospel to 215 million people, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
In November, Graham's son, evangelist Franklin Graham, explained that while his father is no longer able to preach due to physical complications related to Parkinson's disease, his mind is clear and his passion for sharing the Gospel is as strong as ever.
"His desire is still there to tell the world about God's love for them and how God sent His Son, Jesus Christ from heaven to earth to take the sins of all mankind to the cross, die, and arise on the third day," Graham wrote. "My father's desire is that all men and women everywhere would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and trust Him and follow Him as their Lord."