I am pretty sure I’m not the only one who has been here:
The kids are growing, and making their own decisions. In our instance, everyone had seen our son grow up and leave for college. It was while he was there, just an hour away, and engaged in Student Ministry, college sports, Sports Ministry, and playing in at least 2 or 3 worship bands, when he started his downward trend. Then the bottom went out.
While this was going on, and WE saw him making poor choices, the whole town around us still thought of him as being “such a good, Christian, young man” – while we tenderly shared our requests for prayers interceding for him.
Often, people didn’t believe us, or brushed it off. Whether they thought we had too high of expectations for our kids (pretty sure we did, but only because we wanted them to build on the shoulders of our faith, something we didn’t have in either of our homes), or that he was “just being a kid” (well, he was, but we prayed a lifetime of prayers that he would only move forward in his faith), it hurt more to realize that we lived in an extremely superficial place, and that we weren’t getting to see much genuine faith expressed in our friendships.
We wanted to be real. It wasn’t a gossip session – it was a real, genuine, request for prayer. We tried really hard to be genuine in our friendships, sharing burdens and blessings. We weren’t wanting attention (ugh, who wants THAT kind of attention?) and really prayed fervently before having to go into “tough love” mode. It was one of the hardest seasons in our lives (which really drew us, my husband and I, closer together in Christ). It was bittersweet.
So now, being on the other side of that lesson (our son, sweetly restored to His Savior, and now engaged to a lovely Christian girl), how should I respond when other friends’ kids just start to step away from their faith? What about when we suspect something before our friends do? Is our greatest service just to hold our tongue and lift them all in prayer?
I think so. Do you?