No matter how hard you try, if you are a Christian for any amount of time, you will witness others falling away. A very good friend of mine fell away a little while ago. I got to watch her be baptized, and then before my eyes, in not even a year, I saw her deteriorate into a hater of God and all Christians. I watched the slow process happen first hand, and I witnessed the tragic loss of a soul. It took me three months, after she told me she decided to be an atheist, to finally break ties with her. For the sake of her discretion, I’ll leave out the details. But she had fallen so far away that I knew that there was no chance that I could retrieve her.
It was difficult, but I had no other choice. Watching her was far too painful, and I had to break it off. But I did not, by any means, give up. Every day I still think about her, and every night I still pray that someone is able to bring her back to Christ. While I understood that there was no more I could do, I did not give up on her, and I never will.
Sometimes it’s important to recognize that distance is the best answer and that while it may be hard, it may be the thing that brings them back. They may realize and understand that they have done wrong, and that may be the very thing that brings them back. But before we can successfully bring others back, we must first know how to properly deal with this tragedy. Unfortunately, it will very likely happen to someone close to you. It is always important to know how to correctly handle each situation and to know how to stand strong during these trials
First of all, we must set aside time to pray. James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray,” We must pray for ourselves, that we can stay strong. And we must always continue to pray for those that have fallen away. Pray that even if you cannot lead them back to Christ, that someone else can. Pray that you don’t fall into that temptation yourself. Pray that this doesn’t cause anyone else to lose faith. In all situations, especially when we lose those that we love to the world around us, we must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
We must also keep in mind our own spiritual wellness. We mustremember that we cannot allow the wavering of someone else’s faith to chip away at our own. Read and study your Bible, surround yourself with wonderful Christian influences, and constantly remind yourself why you love God. Sometimes the hardest thing is to stay faithful when those that we love fall away. It can be easy to blame God for the things that occurred, but as we can see in James 1:13, God does not tempt. God does not lead others astray. God does not cause others to stumble, but they choose that path on their own. We must remember to grow in our faith during this time, rather than fall away.
It is also important, in these situations, to never give up. We must never stop praying, we must never think of the spiritually lost as a lost cause, because the moment you do, so will they. The moment you give up on them, there may no longer be hope for them. You may be the only person who can bring them back. You may be the only person who can help bring them back to Christ. And even if that chance is slim, it’s still worth they effort.
Lastly, we must come to terms. This is by far the most difficult thing to do in this kind of situation. If a Christian dies physically, it’s sad but we know that one day we will spend an eternity with them. But if a Christian falls away, it’s so hard to accept it. It’s a fate worse than death, because you know that they are going to hell and you feel as if there is nothing you can do, or could have done, to stop it. And it’s a painful feeling. It’s a feeling that makes you feel sick with grief. It can make you feel completely helpless. It can make you feel as if you cannot do anything. But we must move on, we must be strong, and we must stand firm in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Maybe you had to break ties, maybe not. Either way, at some point or another you have to move on. You have to get up, shake the dust off of your feet, and move on. There comes a point when, for your sake and for the sake of others, you have to move on. Accept things as they are and go on with your life. This may take days for some, and months for others. Of course, you will always be sad about it. Of course, every time you think about them your heart will break a little bit. But that’s much different than reopening old wounds when it’s past time for them to heal. We cannot allow our hearts to harden, but we cannot allow the wounds to stay open.
I would like to encourage you to, if you are going through this, not to lose courage. Maybe you can bring them back! But even if you can’t, don’t lose faith. Don’t allow your heart to be hardened, but rather use this as a way to get closer to God. Use this as a way to get closer to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Use this as a way to soften your heart and become more kind, compassionate, and humble. Use the obstacles in your life as a way to strengthen you, rather as an excuse to fall down. I hope that this has encouraged anyone going through these things. And I hope that if you are experiencing the falling of a loved one, to remember that you are not alone, and that there still may be hope.