My Friend Wants To Leave Behind Faith: What Do I Do?

afoolofhope asked:

How would you suggest one to go about discussing faith with someone who said they were raised in a strong Christian home, and growing up wanted to believe in God and all the things that go with that, but they had to “test the waters” for themselves? It seems like the conclusion they came to was along the lines of “this is good for some people, but since I can’t believe it, it’s not for me.” I want to help point them to Christ, but I’m not sure how to do so/talk with them about it.

My dear friend, I first want to applaud you for truly caring about your friend. It’s already a difficult task to talk about faith, and the fact that you want to talk faith with someone who doesn’t is a huge testament to your loving heart.

Here’s the hard part.

If your friend wants to leave behind their faith, there’s not a whole lot you can do.

Of course, you can continue to ask questions. Stay involved. Reach out. Invite them to church activities. Challenge their assumptions. Keep asking, “How’s life?” Be around and be near.

But in the end, each person must choose their own way. If you bring up matters of faith as a way to bring them back to “the fold,” they’ll see right through you, and suddenly they’ll feel like a project or a charity case. No one wants that. It’s hurtful. No one wants to be part of someone’s agenda for a triumphant church-victory.

More than that though, if we coerce someone with the external apparatus of persuasion, then they’re not really going to think for themselves. They might turn back to faith because you won an argument, but not because they were fully convinced in and of themselves that Jesus was the one for them.

I know this whole thing feels very urgent, because sometimes the church will pressure you into clawing back the prodigal. You might have heard, “What if they die tomorrow?” And I suppose that could be true.

Yet it’s even worse to make someone want something if they don’t want it. You can only present Christianity the best you can through the overflow of your life, and perhaps one day, they’ll come back. And if they don’t, keep loving them, and you cannot blame yourself.

Here’s what I’ve seen.

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