Some have left because of horrific treatment at the hands of the church.
Some leave because of crushing disappointment with life and God’s providence.
I can fully understand both.
There have been more than a few days over the past few years when I was eying the door myself…
Often they will use social media to rail against both the church and God…and maybe even you.
How should we respond when our friends seem to fall away?
The first thing you do (if allowed), is to remain friends.
If you only love your friends when they agree with you, you aren’t much of a friend.
The second thing you do is let them vent.
They are drawing from a well of deep hurt and it’s going to look and sound ugly until the well is drained.
Hurt people can and will hurt other people…sometimes even people that used to be friends.
Be willing to hurt for the sake of the kingdom and your friend.
God doesn’t need you to defend Him at every turn…He does expect you to love even when someone may be unlovable.
The third thing you should do is validate their pain, especially when they have been crushed by the church or circumstances.
Life hurts, sometimes unbearably so.
Bad things do happen in the church and there are inexplicable tragedies all around us every day.
We wonder where God is and what He is doing.
If you haven’t been hurt that deeply yet, your time is coming.
Healing takes time…and you don’t control how much time it will take for someone else to heal.
What you don’t do is judge…using “if they were with us they would have stayed with us” to write off a soul is easy, but says more about your heart than theirs.
Finally, don’t decide that the decision they made is final.
God loves them more than you do…and His heart is to bring them back to the flock in wholeness.
He may even use your faithful friendship as means to do so.
Make your own application…