Hope for Christians With Unsaved Loved Ones
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?
God ’s will
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 the lost (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 (2 Corinthians 4:4) and their own carnal nature.
There are a number of things we can do 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.
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 (Phillipians 4:6).
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).
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.
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 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.
Other motives for sharing our faith won’t 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 extremely difficult 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 that they love other people (John 13:35).
Jesus commands us to share the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20) in a way that brings people to faith (Romans 10:17). We can share through faith stories, answering our loved one’s questions about our faith, and giving 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 begins to deal with the loved one by confronting them about their sin. People can't 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 very 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 face their true nature.
Trusting 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 make the decision 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 entrust Him with our lives and have faith that He fulfils His promises. We can have confidence in Him, even when facing His judgment (1 John 4:17).
When we worry and fret about the salvation of our loved ones, 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 drive out the fear of punishment (1 John 4:18), and trust Him with the fate of our loved ones.
Reference: The Holy Bible, New International Version