If you’ve had a loved one turn away from God, you may have asked, “HOW?”
- How do I know what to say?
- How do I keep from being led by my emotions?
- How can I make sure my own faith stays strong?
Thankfully, the answers to our questions can be found in God’s faithful Word. I have a book coming out in February (Lord willing) that deals with what to do when loved ones fall away. Each week in December I’ll be sharing some excerpts from the book.
From chapter one– KEEP YOUR FAITH IN GOD
God’s love is nothing like man’s imperfect love. God’s love is perfect and everlasting. When things are going well, we are secure in that knowledge. But sometimes when our hearts are hurting, we forget the amazing depth and enduring nature of God’s love. Could it be Satan whispers doubts in our mind about God’s love? Like Mrs. Job advising her husband to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9), Satan’s lies begin with God to get us to turn away from Him. When he tempted Eve, Satan mentioned God’s name three times (Genesis 3:1-5)! To keep ourselves from ever believing Satan’s lies about God, we need to continually reacquaint ourselves with the love of God. The Word is filled with the truth about God’s love. Study it often so its voice will be louder than Satan’s.
From chapter four– SEEK GUIDANCE FROM GOD’S WORD
Emotions, both positive and negative, are powerful, and certainly our emotions are involved when a loved one falls away. Our society places an emphasis on letting personal emotions guide important decisions. “I have to follow my heart.” “Do what feels right to you.” The world’s mantra is that while rules are good, ultimately one should live by what feels right to them. But feelings can be an unreliable and unsafe guide. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). When Saul persecuted Christians, he wasn’t trying to be wicked. He thought he was doing the right thing. He was following his heart. He didn’t realize his actions were contrary to God’s will. He said, “Indeed, I myself thought…” (Acts 26:9). He was convicted by his feelings. His conscience never once made him question his actions (Acts 23:1). Even good people make huge mistakes when allowing their feelings to guide them. It wasn’t until Saul encountered Christ that he learned to “speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25). Wise Solomon sums it all up by saying, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). When a loved one falls away, we must be aware of the danger of being led by our feelings. It can happen without us even realizing it. The way to safeguard against that is to stay in the Word. “Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, that I may not be ashamed” (Psalm 119:80).
Next week’s excerpts will deal with the subjects of prayer and guilt. I’d love to hear from you…Have you had a loved one fall away? Have you had to make sure your emotional response stays in line with God’s Word? What have you done to strengthen your own faith?
6 thoughts on “When Loved Ones Fall Away, Part 2”
Thank you, Kathy. As you know, we are fearing this very situation. I am convinced that I have done everything I can do to avert it but, ultimately, the choice is in someone else’s hands. I have made my peace with it, and will not allow it to “rob me of my joy.” We will hurt, but will not allow it to change my approach to my ministry and my own walk of life.
Beautiful convictions, Pat, and worthy of imitation! Thank you so much for sharing those great thoughts! Your family is in my prayers.
My guilt almost destroyed me. While I do still struggle with guilt I have found a boundary of where my actions end and another’s decisions begins. The Godhead never forced obedience on anyone. Loving opportunities for return remain open for the time being. In the meantime I remind myself of what I have control over and where it stops.
Good wisdom, Kelli! You are so right about remembering what we have control over, even though that can be very difficult. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Great thoughts so far Kathy as my wife and I are trying to deal with this with a child and grandchildren who have all been baptized and at one time faithful. We have learned that when you don’t live in the same town as your family members and see each other only once or twice a year and must depend on social media there is only so much that can be done. Also, have found that once a child is married and has lived with their mate longer than they were at home with mom and dad; you have less and less influence on the unfaithful child. We keep working and keep talking; but it is still hard. Another factor is terrible events in local congregations that end up being a excuse to stop attending. Just keep up the good work Kathy; you will have a large audience unfortunately.
Thank you for your encouragement! I’m sorry to hear that you are dealing with that, though, especially with multiple loved ones. It’s true…many blame the behavior of others for their unfaithfulness. It’s sad and frustrating. Thank you for reading and commenting!