Many of us who have accepted Yeshua as our Messiah, and have turned back to God, have been ostracized by not just friends but by our family, as well.
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I have two children, from a previous life which I may have mentioned this in the past, who were constantly exposed to my “ex” verbally battering me whenever I visited them. She even did that when I wasn’t there, and after many years of this, my children grew up to accept her version of who I am and had rejected reject me, totally.
Every day since then I have prayed that God would reconcile my children to me, and every year for over 10 years I wrote both my daughter and son on their birthday asking to reconcile. About a year and a half ago, when I wrote to my son on his birthday, he replied that he wanted to start over. I was elated and knew that this was an answer to my daily prayers. We had emailed each other a number of times and also we have had pleasant conversations using the video app on Instant Messenger. Everything seemed to be getting better.
This week I replied to a couple of his posts and those of his girlfriend and his replies were not just nasty, but degrading and insulting. I went back and asked why he is being so nasty, and that if he can’t disagree with me he doesn’t have to say anything at all. I sent him a personal message saying that I don’t deserve to be talked to that way and I am still his father, who deserves some respect. I said I wasn’t his punching bag.
His reply was that he has been thinking about it and he doesn’t respect me, which is why he was lashing out at me. He added he doesn’t want to respect me and that we should separate permanently. He also unfriended me and blocked me before I could even respond.
I am not sharing this to hear people say how sorry they are; the reason I am sharing is that this being a ministry, there is an important message here about answers to prayer, and raising the question if praying may sometimes be a waste of time.
As of this moment, because this is how they want it, both my son and daughter are dead to me. It isn’t my choice, it is theirs, and as sad and painful as it is, I will respect their wishes. And to tell you the truth, it is somewhat of a relief because they have insulted and berated me constantly for over 20 years. I spent most of my time turning the other cheek, realizing that this was their mother’s hatred which she infused into their innocent minds as they were growing up, but at 33 and 28 years of age, they are more than old enough now to make up their own minds.
I prayed to God for many years to be reconciled with them, and with their mother, as well, and after my son said he wanted to reconcile, I thanked God every day for that answer to prayer. I continued to pray for my daughter to turn back to me, as well. But now that my son has, completely out of the blue, rejected me again, how can I trust God to answer prayer?
The answer is that God DID answer my prayers, but he won’t force people to change who they are. Somehow, someway, God influenced my son to turn back to me, and despite my efforts to tip-toe around him for the past year and a half, he returned to the disrespectful, hateful, and angry person that his mother is, inside of him.
In looking back, I really can’t see how I did anything to anger him- even Donna, my wife, said my responses were not at all written in any way to be construed as nasty or insulting, but he just did a complete “180” and now things are back to where they used to be.
Except for one thing- I am not praying for them anymore.
Now, some of you may be thinking I should pray even harder, and I can understand the reasoning behind that; after all, Yeshua told us to pray for our enemies. He also said that we shouldn’t throw pearls before swine. Most people interpret that as not wasting time preaching to those who won’t listen, and that is the correct interpretation, but I am adding my own twist to it. I believe that there are some people for whom intercessory prayer is inappropriate. You can pray and pray, but since God will not change who a person is unless they ask him to, it might just be a waste of time.
I believe that prayer for people who are not just godless, but God-hating is a waste of time. For our own emotional protection, we have to learn to allow people to make their own decisions even when we know where that decision will take them. As painful as it is, sometimes we have to cut our losses and move on, and the only consolation I can find from this is that what I am doing is also what God does.
Today’s lesson is that my experience with my children is similar to what happens to God, every day when people reject him. God wants everyone to turn from their sin and live (Ezekiel 18:23), but when they reject him he will allow them to live their lives on their own. Even though he knows the pain and eternal suffering they will have to endure because of their choice.
So taking God’s example, I am removing my children from my life, as they have requested, and I won’t pray for them, but I won’t reject them if they turn back to me. The ball is now entirely in their court.
God will turn his face from those who ignore and hate him, but he will never give up on them and is always happily willing to take them back the moment they do teshuvah. And that is the hope we can have for those whom we love and care for but who reject us.
Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share, and comment if you feel you have anything to add to this message.
Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!
ADDENDUM: It is now three days later, and I am adding this because as I prayed this morning before I even knew it I was praying for my children. I realized that when I wrote the above message, I neglected one factor: when we pray, and we are praying genuinely from the heart, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will help lead us in the prayer. And what I learned is that it is always right to pray for someone, even when you are pretty sure that they will never change.
So I learned this morning and wanted to add to this message, that when you ask yourself “Should I pray for this so-and-so?”, my answer is something my people always say: “Vat could it hoit?“