1. Remember the Person You Used to Be
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If you’ve been a follower of Christ for very long, you’ve likely experienced tremendous growth in your faith. But the further we get into our walk with God, the easier it is to forget the messes we once were. In fact, we try to forget the messes we once were!
When loving our unbelieving children, it’s important to remember who we were before Jesus saved us. We, too, were carried away by various winds of teaching, cultural pressures, and sinful behaviors. Recalling our lowly state helps us love our kids with the perspective of “I’ve been there,” rather than, “I don’t understand you.” In fact, it might be beneficial to share some of the worldly struggles we encountered and how Jesus set us free.
Remember the person you used to be when loving your unsaved children. Empathize with them without compromising your faith. Sympathize with their weaknesses without enabling them. Remind them that Jesus, Himself, was faced with every temptation this side of heaven and is able to sympathize with them as well.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
More resources to consider:
Relating to Your Unsaved Grown Child
Parents with a Past
2. Remind Them You Are Praying for Them
Some kids who have rejected Christ are resistant to Bible verses or other Christian content being shared with them. But most have no argument against a parent who is faithful to pray.
Pray for your unbelieving child daily, and, when needed, let them know you’re interceding for them. Don’t force it, but let it come naturally as circumstances occur. Here are a few areas in which it might be a good idea to let your child know you’re praying for them:
– When they apply to colleges
– When they apply for a job
– When they are hoping to succeed in a sport or activity
– When they are worried about something
– When they seem anxious or depressed
– When they come to you for advice
Try not to get offended if your child says they don’t want to you to pray for them. Simply go about your business—God’s business—of interceding for them quietly and faithfully.
If you have a prayer team, make sure it is a trusted team of people you can confide in, knowing they won’t gossip or share your request with people in your child’s circle of friends. This is important, not only for the sake of your child’s heart, but for your relationship. Chances are, even if your child is resistant to your prayers, deep down, they know your prayers are a sign of your unwavering love for them.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
More prayer resources to consider:
7 Ways to Pray When Your Child Goes Astray
10 Prayers for the Teen Who Refuses to Believe
Related Resource: Listen to Our FREE New Parenting Podcast! Christian Parent/Crazy World with Catherine Segars is now available on LifeAudio.com. Click the play button below to listen to her episode on what to do if your child walks away from the faith:
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