Monday, March 28, 2011
Bringing Adult Children (back) to Faith 3
After you have rebuilt your relationship with your adult child by hanging with them (don't ever leave this activity and don't push too fast), it is time to begin the work of introducing them to Jesus. This is the stage of accommodation. This is the stage of spiritual growth when people are learning what Jesus teaches and they begin to recognize Him as a good teacher. "Who do people say that I am?" remember Jesus asking that? "A teacher, the prophet...the Messiah." People rarely jump to a complete understanding of who Jesus is. For the disciples, 3 years of following the real, present person of Jesus around, eating and listening to Him, experiencing his crucifixion and seeing Him alive again were not enough for conversion but it is critical plowing. They accommodated His teachings ...some. Finally, the Holy Spirit poured out on them at Pentecost converted them. Your task up to now has been to be simply, fully, present with your child. Now you may start, not preaching, but talking matter-of-factly, not about how your child needs Jesus, but talking matter-of-factly about how Jesus influences your decisions. This is called faith talk. In normal conversation about life, you stop not talking about Jesus and talk about Him casually like He is a part of everything you do- as He is in everything you do. Remember that evangelism is not about convincing people to come to Jesus - which you can't do, it is about your testimony, giving voice to the reason for the hope you have in Christ. "I hear you that you are really struggling in your marriage. You may not know this but I struggle with that, too. Marriage is hard for me. Getting to know what Jesus says about love has really helped me make it through the rough times." After 3 years of this kind of conversation, and your child seeing you crucify your life for them, they will begin to pay attention. If it was a long process for Jesus, it will probably be a long process for you so take your time and do it well. Pray for the Holy Spirit to infiltrate their thinking, to surround them, to open opportunities for faith talk. They will happen. Then your child will start the process of bringing Jesus as teacher, accommodating Him, into their lives.
Posted by Walt at St. John's Parish at 11:48 AM