A distressed parent afraid that her son has abandoned the faith is desperate to get him back to church. He refuses to return. If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, is there any hope for him finding complete wholeness in Christ away from the church building?
Despite things being tough for her, Rita is never at loss for solutions. However, on this particular day she broke down in tears.
“It has been eight months now and Ted still refuses go to church.” She said, reaching out for a tissue to blow her nose.
Ted, her 18 year old first born son seldom talks to anyone. But the twins, Tara and Barry enjoy life and love church.
“How do you mean?” I inquired, moving closer to sit next to her on the once beige couch.
With her elbows on her laps and her face cupped in her hands, amid sobs she managed to speak, “I raised him better than that but ever since his dad left he rejects our values.”
Unsure of exactly what to say, I put my hand on her shoulder just to offer some comfort.
She turned toward me and asked, “Can you imagine…,” she paused shaking her head in disbelief, “…that he no longer believes in God?”
“He told you that?” I quizzed rather rhetorically. “Yes, he did and it just tore my heart.” She acknowledged.
At this point, clearly Rita felt like her son was slipping right through her fingers. She was afraid of losing him and didn’t know what to do. I wondered if she was rehearsing the past, trying to pin the blame on herself for how Ted was rebelling against her and her values.
Is it possible to have a dysfunctional child despite a healthy home environment? Luke 15:11-32 suggests so. Good parents do not always raise good children and vice versa. Everyone has a free will and not even the best of parental intentions can control an individual’s choices. Proverbs 22:15 reminds us that there’s potential for disobedience within each child. Parents can only point them to the right direction.
“Rita, I’m sure he has his own reasons…” I started before she interrupted.
“Are you serious?” She seemed shocked. “What reason could he possibly have?” She posed with fresh tears streaming down her face.
Trying hard to find the find the right words, I responded, “Well, I don’t really know but did you ask him why he said that?”
“I’m telling you he has become impossible. How can we converse especially when he thinks that everyone at First Family is a hypocrite?”
And there it was! Ted’s personal view about church had changed.
“Look. I’m just trying to say that we often judge things based on what we see. I’m not sure how he arrived at that point but I wonder does he like the internet?”
With a puzzled stare on her face, she grabbed my knee, “You think he’s visiting those x-rated sites?”
“No, no, no. I’m not suggesting that at all.” I said assuredly.
“Oh thank God!” She sighed with relief and I felt her grip loosen. “Yes, he does. He is always on the computer or on his phone. Why?”
“Great. If he can’t go to church then let’s bring church to him.”
Rita’s eyes brightened. “Can we really do that?”
“We can try. Just because Ted has stopped going to the Church house doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. In this technology age, we can literally go into the entire world and preach the Good News to everyone, as per Mark 16:15. The Set Apart Church is one such ministry that provides hope on the internet by bringing church to people; offering the opportunity to church online.” I said.
“Wait a minute. You mean it is an established ministry?” She inquired.
“Sure, it is.” I said and proceeded to explain. “Set Apart Church is an Online Non-Denominational Church that was established to reach out to all who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend Church in the traditional setting. Individuals are ministered to with the word just like in the Church house only that in this case one listens to relevant online sermons in the privacy and convenience of their home or wherever. Although this church online concept is new to us, we must think outside the box and by faith continue to pray, believing that God can touch all who need to hear the “Good News” of a Savior who loves them. Cheer up Rita, there is still hope.”
“Wow! It sounds like something he’d be interested in.” She said, handing me notebook and pen. “Please write the website here. I know he’ll definitely check it out.”
I was delighted that mentioning Set Apart Church had given Rita new hope. She was smiling again.