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?