| A couple questions about dealing with unsaved family members?|
First, how do you relate to unsaved family members? I mean light does not have fellowship with darkness? Can you keep them as family? If so how? Is it hard? I mean would you not always have to watch your back? And therefore be better to remove yourself completely? Or does it depend on the person? If depends then what do you have to watch out for?
Second, what if you are a youth and you depend on your parents income and the are gangsters and get their money from crime? Or even just some job where lying or something is involved? What do you do? Are you accountable? Or do you just have to trust God and leave? Or what if you have rich parents and they inherited all their money from family and somewhere in the lineage of the rich family it was gained by wrong doing? I mean wouldn't that be the case with almost all families at some point?
| 2009/8/26 14:17||Profile|
| Re: A couple questions about dealing with unsaved family members?|
It is hard.
Yes, it would greatly depend on your age and the family member[s] you are talking about.
If they are parents, you are still commanded to honor them.
If these are cousins, siblings, you may have to limit your contacts with them because of their influence to pull you into their whorl of life.
If they are aunts, uncles again you will have to limit your contacts. Be courteous, polite and never give them an occasion to question your faith: ALWAYS live it. Do this regardless who you are with. If a physical need were to occur in your family's lives be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in how He may want you to assist them. Always have the mind of Jesus operating within as you relate to them.
And the reality is we may be surrounded by folks who say they are Christians but you do wonder because of inconsistencies in their lives. If you were to confront them, they would take offense...Sooo, where does this leave you? May I suggest you just make your calling and election sure and resolve in your heart that you will not be a vehicle through which the sins of the fathers will not be passed to the next generation.
This is what I do. Now a word of testimony:
When son #2 - now 36 YO, and single - was walking away from the faith, I was severely troubled about where, what we had done wrong that he was making the decisions he did. (By all outward appearances he is a respectable person.) Then one day as I was mulling this question and coming up short on answers, the Holy Spirit so clearly told me "You be mom and let me be God!" This was so comforting. Since then I have worked to do just that: be mom and forget trying to be the Holy Spirit in our son's life. Since then I have appreciated his accomplishments, his work (he is a civil engineer). We pray for him and his lady friend regularly and are trusting God to deal with him. God knows he exists and my job is simply to wait - and that is hard when you want things done by yesterday!
| 2009/8/26 14:50||Profile|
| Re: A couple questions about dealing with unsaved family members?|
Greetings Ginnyrose and anonymity
Ginnyrose: I was really touched by what you shared about your son. Can I ask you a question, do you talk with your son about his walking away from the Lord and what the consequences to those action might be? I ask because I have recently seen some attitudes in my daughters choices that have given me some cause for concern. Since she is a married adult woman I am not really sure how to approach the situation. Does parenting ever get easier??? I am beginning to think not. I really can appreciate what you shared:"you be mom and let God be God."
Anonymity: I know you had a few questions in your post but if its alright I will just stick to the first one because it applies to me:-) I have several brothers and sister, out of them all only one is saved for sure. All of my brothers have at one time or still do live very worldly life styles. There has been drug, alcohol and pornography abuse in one form or another for along time. Needless to say I have very little contact with any of them. I have not spoken with some of them for many years, mostly because they do not want anything to do with me. IT is difficult for my mother, she gets sad that her children do not get along but I came to a point in my walk that I just could not be around the worldly sinful behavior or expose my children to it with out compromising what I know to be true in the Lord.
Sadly I think most who follow Jesus find that family members who are still living for self or in the world end up wanting nothing to do with those that are following Jesus. I think that the truth is you can not really truly have fellowship with unsaved family because you do not walk in agreement with one another. In my case, my life is about following Jesus, as for most of my family they are about living for self.
This is my take on this, hope others can also give you some insights.
| 2009/8/26 17:42||Profile|
| Re: |
Once a child makes decisions that he/she knows run against what they have been taught, they become hostile. A decent conversation concerning this issue cannot be had, unfortunately. We have tried talking to him about it but he just walks off.
However, the LORD has convicted me that when this child was growing up, I did not treat him right. So, I called him and apologized....and would you know this past Mother's Day he sent me a card! The first ever from him!
Many years ago when our children were little I thought that once they become grown it will get a lot easier. I said something to this effect to an older sister in our church. Her reply was "that it just gets harder." I think she is right.
Sorry I cannot encourage you more in this....but please allow the reality of the situation encourage you: God still knows this person exists and it is His will for this person to love and follow him, bringing honor and glory to Him. He knows what it will take to bring about reconciliation and will work to this end. In the meantime, I will still function as a mom: worry over him, take an interest in him, praise him...all the things a mom does that pleases and sometimes annoy! :-)
| 2009/8/26 17:57||Profile|
| Re: |
thank you for the insights that you shared here as always they are very helpful and much appreciated.
God Bless you sister
| 2009/8/26 18:55||Profile|
| Re: |
the Holy Spirit so clearly told me "You be mom and let me be God!"
Perhaps I should explain in detail the context in which this message occurred.
I was wondering how we had gone wrong in raising this child. We had been taught that if you teach your child proper obedience, that he/she will then at the age of accountability then transfer that trust to God. In other words you function like God in the eyes of the child so when he gets older it will become easy for this child to trust the LORD. As I was wondering how we had missed the mark in this department, it was when the Holy Spirit so clearly spoke to me "You be mom and let me be God."
Just thought this might help someone. Am not sure if this theory is still taught although it seems I may have seen it somewhere on the web recently, but am not sure.
PS: BTW: This child was the most compliant child in our family.
| 2009/8/26 19:17||Profile|
| Re: |
My perspective is a little different as the unsaved one is my wife. I have been saved for 18 years. It can be very difficult sometimes and I know that over the years, especially in the early years of my Christianity, I made all the classic mistakes. The most difficult part, for me I think, was the raising of our now living eldest son(our youngest guy has Downs and our first son died) Our ideas on raising him were very different. Probably, if I had to sum it all up, it comes down to love. Its easy to love those who love and agree with you. Its much harder to love our enemies, and unsaved loved ones can often be our "enemies." And the pain that can be inflicted by those closest to us can be so much greater than those not so close.
Before I came to Christ i was a drunk. I got saved at 26. So many times I would end up at my mom's house drunk. She never once rebuked me, not once. She did always talk about Jesus though, because He was such a part of her life, that was what she talked about. And I was always drawn to her. If she spent the time telling me how wrong I was in my life choices, I am pretty sure I would have given her a wide birth. Yet the love of Jesus always drew me there, even in my drunkenness.
When my own son was about 16 or 17, I was constantly talking to him about his bad choices and what would happen. One day the Lord spoke to my heart, and I will always remeber these words "Frank, I want you to speak life into your son." It was so powerful for me and so different to what I was doing............Frank
| 2009/8/26 19:37|
| Re: |
This is who we are. This is not what we portray to our loved ones. We keep them in the Law and all it does is kill them, and they have no hope in what we say or do. The more we say to them the farther and faster they run away from us. We keep chasing them and give them no rest. There is only One that can do the works that are needed for our loved ones to come to Jesus, that is God.
All we can do is love them and try to allow them to rest and receive from God what is necessary to come to Christ. The more we try, the more Satan uses it against them and ourselves.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't rely on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths."
If we are to be used in any way to bring our loved ones to Christ, it must be by the direction of God and the Holy Spirit from the Christ that is in us. Not just, oh! I see what He wants me to say, but by full assurance that it is, is the Spirit of Christ in you speaking as you to them, if even we are to be used. Even Jesus said there is no honor of those that are in our own families, His family wanted to have Jesus committed. We may never be able to say anything, but we can ask and pray to the only One that is capable of giving them the revelation necessary, even by the foolishness of preaching, not of us but of Him to save them. God knows exactly what our loved ones need, not us, all we do is get in His way, Love them, don't preach.
Romans 7:1-25 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Gaebelein's Annoted Bible
1. The Law and its Dominion. 1-3.
2. Dead to the Law and Married to Another. 4-6.
3. Concerning the Law; its Activities and Purpose. 7-13.
4. The Experience of a Believer in Bondage to the Law. 14-24.
5. The Triumphant note of Deliverance. 25.
Verses 1-3.--The law is now more fully taken up. We have learned before that by the works of the law no man can be justified before God. But when the sinner is justified by faith, does he need the law to please God? Can obedience to the law produce in him the fruit of holiness unto God? What is the relation of the justified believer to the law? Is he still under the dominion of the law or is he also delivered from the law and its bondage? These questions are answered in this chapter. An important principle is stated in the first verse. The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives. The law has dominion over man (both Jews and Gentiles). The law, which is holy, just and good (verse 12) condemns man, his sinful nature and the fruits of that sinful nature, and in this sense it has dominion over every man and holds him in its grasp. But when death takes place, the rule of the law is broken. It cannot touch a dead man. The penalty of the broken law is death, when that sentence is executed, the law can have no longer dominion.
An illustration from the marriage law as instituted by God is given to make this clear. Husband and wife are united in a union till death dissolves it. The married woman is bound by that law to her husband as long as he lives. When he dies she is free and can be married to another. And we are become dead to the law by the body of Christ. The body of Christ means the death of Christ on the Cross. On the cross He bore the judgment which is our due. He bore the penalty and the curse of the law for us. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Ga 3:13). The penalty of the broken law has been met and the law is vindicated. Inasmuch, then as His death is our death, in that we died with Christ, the law can have no more dominion over us; "we are dead to the law by the body of Christ."
Verses 4-6.--The old union is dissolved. Death has done its work and it is now possible after being freed from the law to be married to another. In Galatians the question about the law and its authority is viewed from another side. The law was the schoolmaster unto Christ; now after faith is come, the full truth concerning redemption by the death of Christ is made known, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Ga 3:23-25). Being then dead to the law by the body of Christ we are married to another. And this other One is He who died for us and who is risen from the dead. Justified believers are in a living union with a risen Christ; He lives in us and we live in Him. And the result of this most blessed union is fruit unto God. The law could not produce any fruit whatever but only death; nor can the legal principle bring forth fruit unto God in a believer. Ephraim was joined to idols as we read in Hosea. But Ephraim observed the Lord, heard Him and became like a green fir tree. And the Lord adds, "From Me is thy fruit found" (Ho 14:8). The parable of the vine and the branches (Joh 15) illustrates in a simple and blessed way the apostolic statement, "Married unto another--that we should bring forth fruit unto God." As the branch is in closest union with the vine and the sap of the vine produces the fruit, so are we one with Christ, and abiding in Him we bring forth the fruit unto holiness, the fruit which pleases God.
And "when we were in the flesh" (our former state) the passions of sins were by the law. The law by its holy character brings out what the natural man is and stirs up the passions of sins. But it is different now. We are delivered from the law and we can serve in newness of Spirit. We have a new nature, even eternal life, and in that we can render a true spiritual service.
Verses 7-13.--"Is the law sin?" is the next question raised. It springs logically from the statement that the passions of sins, coming out of an evil, sinful heart, were by the law and bringing forth fruit unto death. Still another "God forbid" is the answer. The law was given that we might have through that law the knowledge of sin. "I had not known sin, but by the law." I would not be conscious of lust, unless the law said, "Thou shalt not covet." The law given by a holy God is God's detective. The law forbids and the commandment at once brings out what is in the heart of man. Therefore, no blame can be put upon the law. Sin is that which must be blamed. Sin is lawlessness, rebellion against God and the law brings out that rebellion. Therefore apart from the law sin was dead, that is, dormant. But as soon as the commandment is given, the evil heart rebels against it and man is detected to be a sinner and a transgressor. Let us notice the change of the pronoun "we" to "I." Some thirty times this little word "I" is found in verses 7-25. We are brought upon the ground of personal experience; it has to be discovered and learned experimentally. The Apostle personifies this experience and speaks thus personally describing how a believer learns the lessons about the law, how the law cannot help a justified believer, and but makes of him a wretched man. It must also have been his own experience.
"For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." This is the experience of a man who is ignorant of the spirituality of the law. He thinks himself alive, but when the commandment came, its spiritual demands realized (the law is spiritual, verse 14), the false notion of being alive was detected, for sin revived and he died, which means that sin, discovered by the law, condemned him to death. "And the commandment which was unto life was found for me to be unto death." In connection with the commandment, the law, it is written, "This do, and thou shalt live." And so in this experience--he tries next to get life by the law, but he found it was unto death, for the declaration of the law is "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Ga 3:10; De 27:26). He speaks of sin, his evil nature, as one who had deceived him into all this, so that the law could manifest its power in slaying him. Verse 12 is the real answer to the question, "Is the law sin?" The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good. And because the law is holy it gives knowledge of sin and detects sin, bringing it to light in all its hideousness and then pronounces the sentence of death. One other question is asked, "Was then that which is good (the law) made death unto me?" God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful." It all comes back upon sin (the evil nature, the flesh). Thus by the commandment sin becomes exceeding sinful.
Verses 14-24.--But all this must be learned by experience, especially the fact "I am carnal," the knowledge that in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing and that I have no power, I am powerless against indwelling sin. What person is it who describes his experience in these words? Some have applied it exclusively to the Apostle. Others state that it pictures an awakened sinner and not a converted man. The man described is born again, but is in bondage to the law and is ignorant of his deliverance in Christ. We find first the statement "we know that the law is spiritual." This is the knowledge which a true Christian possesses concerning the law. And the Christian who knows this great truth, that the law is spiritual, also has learned another truth. "I am carnal and sold under sin." Here then it is where experience begins. True Christian experience is to know our full deliverance in Christ and to walk in the Spirit; the experience of a Christian in struggling with the old nature and discovering what is that old nature, the flesh, is put before us in verses 15-24. That we have here a converted person is seen by the fact first of all, that he does not want to do evil, he wants to do good and cannot do it and therefore hates what he does. The carnal nature, the flesh, which is still in a converted person, is thus demonstrated as enslaving him, however, he is no longer a willing slave, but he hates that old thing which has the mastery over him. In hating it and condemning sin, he does the same what the law does, for it also condemns sin. In this way he consents to the law that it is good. The seventeenth verse is of much importance. "Now then it is no more I that really do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." He learns the difference between himself as born again, in possession of a new nature, and the old nature. He begins to distinguish himself as in possession of a new nature that wills to do good, hating evil, and sin in him, the flesh in which dwells nothing good, but all that is evil. "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." It is a great discovery to find out by experience, that although the believer is born again, he has a nature in him which is evil, which cannot bring forth a good thing. But the will is present with him to do good, because he is born again; however, he finds not the power in himself to perform what is good. And now the conflict between the two natures is on. It brings out some important facts. "It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me." He as born again, no longer loves sin; he hates it. Because he does that which he does not want to do he can truthfully say "it is no more I that do it." Furthermore he delights in the law of God after the inward man. This can never be said of an unconverted man, but only he who has a new nature can delight in the law of God. But he finds himself in helpless captivity to the law of sin which is at work in his members. He finds out that while he has a new nature to will good and to hate evil, he has no power; sin is too strong for him. And this is to teach the believer that he must get power to overcome outside of himself. All his resolutions and good wishes cannot supply the strength to do. That he is self-occupied, seeking power by what he does and tries to do, is seen from the use of the little word "I." The name of the One in whom we have deliverance, Christ, is not mentioned once. The case is clear, it is the description of the experience of a believer, who is justified, born again, in union with Christ, dead with Him, risen with Him and indwelt by the Holy Spirit; but he lacks the knowledge of this and tries by his own efforts and in his own strength, through keeping the law, to obtain holiness. Having discovered that nothing good dwells in his flesh; that the flesh is not himself, but sin in him and that, because it is too strong for him, he is powerless, the cry of despair is uttered by him. "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" He has reached the end of self. He looks now for deliverance from another source, outside of himself. The answer comes at once. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." In Him there is deliverance and what that deliverance is, we shall learn from the first four verses of the eighth chapter. The two laws are mentioned once more in the last verse of this chapter. With the mind, as born again, he serves the law and the law gives him no power; in the struggle with the old nature he is enslaved by the law of sin.
Commentary on Romans continues at Ro 8.
Romans 8:1-6 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Who must give them this spiritual mind, the mind of Christ?
In Christ: Phillip
| 2009/8/27 0:03||Profile|
| Re: about this issue, to appolus|
Hey brother Frank, thanks for sharing your opinion about this matter, and let us all know a bit of your personal experience for the edifications of the saints.
I just wanted to ask you how you deal with the fact that your wife is not a believer? I ask you this because something similar happens in home. I'm not married, I'm talking about my parents.
Actually they're both Christians, but their marriage is not in the best moment now. My father has been struggling with so many issues and sins for so many years, they got married after 1 or 2 years of being Christians; but just 6 years ago my mother and us (daughters and son) understood by God's grace and revelation what being a Christian and born again really means. We all want to follow only Him, and we have truly repent from our sin, changing our course. But my father does not understand this, he thinks we have other faith or are in some 'new thing' as he calls it, for him becoming a stranger to the world is craziness and he is still very comfortable in worldly social gatherings..
This, of course, has been really hard and sad for us. After all he is the head of the family, i have learned to be submitted to him and be obedient; he's proud of us because he sees in us that we seek Christ, but he has many worldly and selfish points of views and often he makes decisions leaded by his instincts, trends, impulses or advices of friends... We all have spoke to him about repentance and waiting in the Lord and seeking His direction in everything, but there's no much we can do because of the rolls we play in the family.
But for my mom this whole issue has been very hard, when she wants to give her opinion in an important matter and she sees that my dad may miss the point or get far from God, he does not receive well what she have to say; and so they barely speak about the Lord together because of the big differences between their believes, he always refute what God has taught her and so between them there´s no spiritual communion at all,... My father has fallen into temptations repeatedly, and my mother has notice this with so much pain, she has forgiven him, and when she tries to exhort him, he's proud enough to say he's fine. And we're all aware of his hardened heart, and this is a big weight that we have been caring in prayer.
What to do? Just love him, i believe; i can't remember the number of times i have 'preached' him about true Christianity...he listens, but nothing sticks in his head or better, his heart; i've come to realize that that work of conviction only the Spirit of God can do,
Ginyrose is so right when she speaks about one wanting to be the Holy Spirit with someone we love. But the truth is that we really don't have the power to change anybody, our duty is to love them and be examples to them, honour them and obey them,-when they're our parents-. But still this is way too hard, i'm really waiting for God's convicting work in my father's life, i know everything would be MUCH different if he repent and obey the Lord, oh, how much i long for that day!
An uncle that is unsaved is sad, an unsaved brother is worrying and shameful, an unsaved mother is heart breaking but if her husband is saved then he will be her cover and will lead her in the right way. But and unsaved father is terrifying, tragic, enervating and a true trial! because he's the head of his family, and if the head is sick, how can it take good care of the rest of the body? how can the body be submitted to that sick head? and if the body is sane, how can they deal with the wrong decisions the head makes? This is our case and in so many occasions we don't know what to do.
Any words of encouragement, comfort is gratefully received; also support in prayer is more that welcomed :-)
Thanks to the brother that deliver these questions, i guest we all are concerned with this issue. How beautiful would be if all our family and relatives know the Lord and be saved. I pray for that.
| 2009/8/27 1:30||Profile|
| Re: |
Any words of encouragement, comfort is gratefully received; also support in prayer is more that welcomed
Karen, as I read your post, these scriptures came to mind: Matthew 19:29; Matthew 10:34-38.
We want our families to all be in the faith. We hope that we can all be in heaven together. And this is fine. Yet, the probability of this being the case is not all that great. I know this is not encouraging, but it is reality. So then, what shall I do? You cannot force a person to repent, come to the LORD. When one becomes so emotionally involved in this issue, it will provide a pathway for the devil to come into your heart and work a work of discouragement where even you could lose your faith. Don't allow this to happen.
What can you do? Pray. Walk with the LORD each and every moment. Keep your focus on Him, take it away from your dad - he is incidental to your environment - what he does and shouldn't have done. Just back off and let God be God. Be courteous, kind, helpful, respectful, honor him but separate yourself emotionally from his behaviours. Make sense? If you don't you will become bitter because of resentfulness and this defiles a body. (I also have had to deal with this issue.)
God bless you, Karen. Just keep on keeping on. God placed you in that home to teach you, so do not fail in these lessons!
| 2009/8/27 9:42||Profile|