A man once told me that after a Sunday service he had attended with his teenage son, he was approached by a fellow church member. This woman told the man that she had noticed his son during the service, and that the son had looked as if he was desperate to leave from the start. She suggested, in love of course, that the man needed to control his son’s attitude and pray for his salvation.
We didn’t last very long at that church.
Although the church and some of it’s members weren’t a good fit for us, hearing this father’s response to the woman, affected me deeply. It touched on a hidden fear locked away in my heart. His response was this, ‘My son comes to church because that’s what we do as a family. He can come with whatever attitude he wants. He can choose to worship or not if he wants. I’m not responsible for his salvation.’
On hearing that, it was as if he had reached directly into me, pulled out the secret fear I harbored, and freed me from it. It is too heavy a burden to carry, this believing that my children’s salvation is for me to work out through my own fear and trembling. This burden of taking up the cross of Christ and carrying it for my husband or child or friend is an offense. It places the emphasis on me and my actions. It assumes that the power of salvation is in my hands, rather than the hands of a God who sacrificed all to offer it.
Free will is a terrible and glorious thing. My children have the choice to receive God’s gift or reject it. And so, I live a life that I hope points them to Christ. I pray and nurture the seeds of faith in their hearts. I let go of fear, embrace freedom, and trust that their feet will walk the path that leads to Truth.
Are you carrying the burden of someone else’s salvation on your shoulders? Release it, and trust that Jesus has already carried it for you.
This post is part of a 31 day series. I promise to return to my regularly irregular and non-cohesive posting in November. For my first 31 day post click here, for more 31 Day topics (and there are a LOT!) click here.