Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.
Some Christians are concerned and anxious about family members who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. They may ask: if they die unsaved, will they automatically go to hell?
It is God’s will that everyone comes to know Him (1 Timothy 2:4) and come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He does not want anyone to be lost and actively seeks him or her (Luke 19:10). He loves us and longs for all people to be in fellowship with Him. There are many barriers to unsaved loved ones becoming born again, such as denial, sin, skepticism, and unbelief. Some people are blinded by Satan and their own carnal nature (2 Corinthians 4:4).
We can do several things to help our loved ones discover the privilege that we Christians have of being cleansed from our sins by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and having a relationship with God.
How We Can Help Our Unsaved Loved Ones
Worrying is useless. It does not change the situation or add an hour to our lives (Matthew 6:25-28). Instead, the Bible encourages us to pray for others and have faith that God will do something about the situation (Philippians 4:6).
The book O Lord, Deliver Them: Warring for Unsaved Loved Ones by Zari Banks offers a workbook with prayers that address various issues. Our prayers can ask that our loved ones come to know the hope of their calling (Ephesians 1:18). We can also pray that people will come into the lives of our loved ones who will help them on their journey towards God (Matthew 9:37,38).
Be a Christian Light
Before we can lead others to Christ, we need to examine ourselves. Do we reflect Christ in our lives as God intends? No one is perfect, but are we sincerely trying to obey Christ’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves? (Matthew 22:37-39). People will not be drawn to the Christian faith if we are judgmental, critical, self-righteous, unforgiving, and bitter, or come across as a religious fanatic. Christians have a bad reputation for being hypocrites that makes people wary of them.
Instead, we need to shine our light brightly in the dark places where sin lurks by demonstrating God's love in their lives. Some ways we can do that is to show love and compassion, help when needed, and be available as a listening ear during troubled times. People learn more from what we do as Christians than what we say. We need to be an example by showing the benefits of Christian living.
Other motives for sharing our faith will not work, such as:
- A selfish desire to make everyone think the same way we do
- A self-righteous, judgmental attitude that looks down on others who think differently and demands conformity
- A sense of shame and hurt pride because our mates or relatives don’t go to church like we do
- A need to feel superior to others
- A desire to control and manipulate someone else
These motives are more likely to drive away someone who may otherwise have been open to hearing the gospel. When this person is offended, it is challenging to win him back into a trusting relationship (Proverbs 18:19). Jesus said that the main characteristic that identifies His followers to the world that they love other people (John 13:35).
Share the Gospel
Jesus commands us to share the gospel in a way that brings people to faith (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 10:17). We can tell our faith stories, answer our loved ones' questions about our faith, and give God credit for the good things in our lives. When we are motivated by love, we treat people with sensitivity and respect and know when to back off.
Expect That Things Might Get Worse for The Loved One
When we pray, God will begin to deal with our loved ones by confronting them about their sin. People cannot come to God unless they understand that they are sinners who need to repent and ask Jesus into their hearts.
This kind of change is difficult for our loved ones to achieve. We may need to pray for years and years before they will choose to change. Some individuals may never try to face their true nature.
Trust God With Our Loved Ones
We can try our best to share our faith with our loved ones and pray for them, but ultimately, they have to decide for themselves. What if they still refuse to accept Jesus as their Savior? This question troubles some Christians. We know from the Bible that when people die, they are judged by God based on how they lived their lives (Matthew 12: 36-37, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 2:9, Revelation 20:11-12). His judgments are beyond our understanding (Romans 11:33).
We Christians serve a loving, just God. We can entrust Him with our lives and have faith that He fulfills His promises. We can have confidence in Him that he will be fair, even when facing His judgment (1 John 4:17). When we worry and fret about our loved ones' salvation, we are giving in to fear and not trusting God to deal with them in fairness and love.
God is love. Let's allow His love to drive out the fear of punishment and trust Him with the fate of our loved ones (1 John 4:18).
The Holy Bible, New International Version
© 2013 Carola Finch
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on February 09, 2020:
Excellent story. Thank you
SwordofManticorE from Burlington on July 10, 2014:
1 Tim 4:10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
We are all saved by His Grace, not by our choices or works, and the blessings of salvation start when we believe.
Katie on May 29, 2014:
Thank you so much for this post. I have a father who is not a believer, and when I searched the Internet for comforting words of advice and wisdom from fellow believers, I was hard pressed to find any. I really appreciate the fact that you spent the time to write this.