Let me introduce you to my friend. We’ll call him Al.Al’s a great guy. The type of person who is naturally good at just about everything.
Handsome. Athletic. Great at his job.
He brings positivity, excitement, and excellence to everything he does. He even professes to be a Christian. By all appearances he takes his faith seriously. He goes to church. Participates regularly in a Bible study at work. He even took a leadership position at his local church. On the surface, Al is a successful guy. He has his stuff together. But that’s only part of the story.
This morning, as I was walking away from Al's desk I dropped a casual compliment.
"Good luck, Al. I know you'll make this project better. Everything is better when you've worked on it."
His response stopped me dead in my tracks.
"I wish that were true with my kids. They just seem to be getting worse."
I only know a little of Al’s family story. What I do know has me concerned. I know he’s been struggling with his teenage daughter’s rebellious desire to have a homosexual relationship. I know that he and his new wife are both healing from recent divorces. I know that since their marriage a year ago they have been struggling to integrate two different households full of teenagers. And I know that while he may be winning out in the world, he’s losing at home.
Al's not alone. There are fathers and mothers all across the country who are steadily losing their families and can’t figure out how to turn the tides. Of course, the world has plenty of answers. There’s plenty of worldly wisdom Al can, and does, turn to for advice.
Instead of worldly wisdom, I want to share with you some of the biblical reasons I think Al (and many others) may be losing at home.
My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.I know that Al knows the gospel. Yet, he has gone out of his way to make sure his children are ignorant of it. Months ago, while telling me about his daughter's homosexual desires, I made it clear to him that she needed a biblical understanding of sin. She needed to be lovingly confronted with the truth of her rebellion against God. She must be shown her need to repent and walk according to God’s law. She needs to seek the righteousness of God offered through the redeeming work of Christ on the cross.
He went home that day but never shared these truths with her. So, to this day his daughter remains in her sin. Ignorant of her enmity with God. Ignorant of the truth that if she were to die today, she would face the judgment of a holy, righteous, and perfect God. She is under a curse of destruction for her lack of knowledge.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.Now Al is taking his daughter to a therapist. They hope they can turn this situation around. The therapist asked why he is so strongly against his daughter’s desires. He explained the negative health, psychological, and societal results of such a lifestyle. But, at the end of the day, he couldn't work up the courage to boldly declare the truth of God. He couldn't (or wouldn't) tell his daughter the truth. And he couldn't (or wouldn't) tell the therapist. He missed an opportunity to tell the truth that could possibly save this person’s soul.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.I asked Al why he hasn't confronted his daughter with her sin. His response was that he didn't want to risk burning any bridges between them. His concern for her feelings overpowered his concern for her soul. His desire to maintain a relationship with her was more important than her reconciliation with God.
Al attends the weekly Bible study I lead at work. He has for about 6 months. I know he’s heard the gospel. Many times. We have traveled on business together. Spent hours discussing the things of God. He is a man who professes a faith in God. A man who appears to be bearing the fruit of repentance in his own life. But, perhaps Al isn’t saved. That’s a very real and sad possibility.
Al’s story is sad. Let's not fool ourselves; there are many people in our churches just like him. Men and women whose families are ignorant of the gospel. Who are too scared to do anything about it. And who are possibly unsaved themselves. These are people who may (or may not) be winning their war in the world but at the same time abandoning the war at home.
I want to give you three ways we can help someone like Al.
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men.Who stands in more need of prayer than those who stand outside the covenantal promises of God? Only the Holy Spirit has the power to bring the regenerating power of God into the hearts of lost people. So, this is the first and most important thing that I can do for Al. I can pray for him.
(1 Timothy 2:1)
How will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?I don’t know the elders at Al’s church. I don’t know if there is anyone there willing to speak lovingly and boldly into his family. Maybe there are. But maybe not.
If I have a real desire to see Al and his family saved, I have the real responsibility to communicate the gospel to them. God has placed Al in my life. Maybe for this very reason.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Jesus taught that the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself.
How hard would you want someone to work on your behalf if you were struggling, hurting, lost, and they had the answer?
I know that I’m not going to let my friend and his family go down without a fight. Their souls are too valuable for me to give only half my effort. I don’t believe I can drag them into faith and repentance. I don’t think God will hold me responsible if they don’t believe. But I do believe that God has entrusted me with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The great message that sinner can find reconciliation with God through the Savior’s work on the cross. Al is losing at home. But I’m willing to help fight for him!
Are you willing to fight for the “Al’s” in your life? Will you pray for them? Lovingly preach to them? And pursue them? All to the glory of God?