The Heartbreak of Watching Friends Walk Away From Faith

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jillianchan asked a question:

As someone in ministry, have you seen many people fall from faith? If you have, how do you handle it?

Hey dear friend: I’ve been through this too many times to count. It’s happening now, too. It’s always heartbreaking and always a punch in the stomach. To be truthful, I still grieve for so many friends who went their own way and chose self-destruction. I still lose sleep over it. It’s something you don’t really get over, and something I pray about every day.

I’ve blamed myself; I’ve blamed God; I’ve blamed bad influences; I’ve blamed the church. In the end, I know I can’t persuade anyone to stay faithful. It’s their choice and their autonomy.  I must respect that. As God respects our free will, so must we.

The only thing I can do is stay in touch. I text or call or email, at least a couple times per week. It’s difficult, you know. I feel like I’m being annoying or that I’m wasting my time (and theirs). I feel bitterness and disappointment and helplessness. But I want them to know: I’m still here for you. I’m staying. I don’t care if I look like an idiot. If it means my life, I’ll keep loving on you.

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