Advice for Your Relationship With an Apostate Family Member

by Alan Shlemon

I was recently asked for advice by someone whose sister is no longer claiming to be a Christian. This has caused a rift in their relationship, and she wanted to know what I would suggest. I figured I’d offer my thoughts “out loud” in case someone else is asking a similar question.

Pray for Salvation

First, I told her she should begin (if she hasn’t already) to pray for her sister’s salvation. Too often, in apologetic circles, we put too much emphasis on arguments and reason, thinking we could win over our family member if we just had a better apologetic. Don’t get me wrong, knowing apologetics can help, especially if the person is wrestling with an intellectual objection. I’m an apologist, so I’m definitely in favor of being prepared to answer questions and doubts. Many times, though, we might not know exactly what’s going on inside their soul, but God does. Besides, no person comes to faith in Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. So, making prayer a priority helps us gain the right perspective. The work of salvation is the work of God alone.

One of the things I suggested she specifically pray for is that God would bring committed believers into her sister’s life. Often our family members are resistant to our ideas, thoughts, pleas, and arguments simply because we’re their relative. I’ve often seen God bring someone else like a friend or co-worker into a person’s life who becomes a bigger influence than the family member ever could be…

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Advice for Your Relationship With an Apostate Family Member