Question:

I have a new situation that I am trying to deal with and would like to ask your advice as to how to proceed.

Some time ago, I received an e-mail from my son. We have had an 'on and off' relationship for some time, as well as with his sister. This is all due to the divorce many years ago, and all the ugliness that went with that.

The e-mail was simply a forwarded poster announcing a certain activity at a Buddhist temple there where he lives. I realized he had moved from being a complete atheist, or so he claims; then to Wica, and something that does something about 'nature', not sure what that is; and now into Buddhism. I was concerned, of course, but my son does not openly communicate with me much, so I didn't really know how to proceed. He is also a recovering alcoholic, drug addict, etc. He has been sober now for five years, and at first had much anger, as well as many doubts about everything, including life.

He called me last night, and we spoke for over two hours. He told me that he had thought of suicide at one point but decided to search further as to why he was even here. So, we talked about many things. At last he ventured into the Buddhist part of his life, and I took the opportunity to speak about the Bible and the Christian way. He is vehemently against Catholicism, and a few others as well. This comes from his past with his father's family, Catholics.

During the call, I took the position that he was searching for what he thinks or feels should be the right way to God. A search that has taken him into many places. So, I asked him to also consider searching further into true Christianity, worship of God according to the first century Christian way, not denominations. He says there is no such thing, and all religions are man-made, hypocritical, etc. I had my Bible sitting next to me, so I opened it and went to passages to answer some of what he was saying. But he still resisted. He is very angry about the 'homosexual' issue. He is not homosexual, at least as far as I know, but has many friends and his sponsor who are. He says God could not possibly keep them out of heaven after all the good they have done for him, but I tried to let him know what the Bible says. I read passages to him concerning this, a few different ones in fact. But he is angry about it.

I continued to answer him with my Bible, thankfully I have marked many passages that pertained to this. I did ask him to please consider also searching the Bible more. He says it is inconsistent, contradictory, etc. I told him if he had actually really read it, he would be finding out that this is not so. He says he read it but couldn't answer my questions.

I was extremely happy to hear from him, and tried to not say things that would make him think I was chastising him, or being upset with him. But I did appreciate the opportunity to speak to him about the path he has now chosen, and hopefully give him something more to think about in regards to worship of our Lord.

I don't know where to go from here. I don't hear from him often. However he says he thinks of me often. I did try to impress him with the fact that I do love him. He said he loved me, but the words came hard and slow from him. I believe he does love me, but just has never had the right way to express it. This is also true of his sister. She claims that she doesn't even care if I die. And has bluntly told me to (profanity), if you know what I mean. I did ask my son to also relay my love to her as well, if she will listen to him. She may not. But I felt I still have to keep trying to get through to both of them and let them know I do care. One obstacle of course, is the distance between us physically. I live several states away, and at present do not see a way of moving there. But I'm not even sure that would be the answer either.

So, whatever advice you may have to share, I would sure appreciate it. I so very much want a good relationship with my children, as well as really hoping they choose God in their lives. What more can I do to help them? Thank you for listening, and thank you for your advice and help.


Answer:

It sounds as if you are handling this difficult situation very well. It is tough, but you handled it with love, concern, and let God be the authority. "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:24).

I smiled when I read that your son claimed that all religions are man-made and hypocritical. I wonder if he realized that he lumped his own religious beliefs in with the rest. Obviously he is wrong about it being impossible for true Christianity, just as it existed in the first century, to exist today. I was reading not long ago about some tree seeds found that were over 2,000 years old. Some have been planted and a tree is growing as a result -- not a modern tree, but one just like the ones they had 2,000 years ago. When you take a seed and plant it, you get what you plant. In the same way, if a group uses only the New Testament as their guide to what the church should be, they won't get some new innovation of man, but the same church that Christ founded.

I also noticed that he still retains his Christian roots. He is upset that some of his friends who are caught up in sin might be excluded from heaven. Buddhists don't really believe in either heaven or hell, especially not as an eternal destination. Rather, they believe in multiple degrees of good and bad existences which a person moves up and down through in multiple lives.

Like most scoffers, your son finds it easier to state that Christianity is contradictory than to actually examine the faith. To claim flaws is easier than to prove flaws. But it appears you gave him things to think about and perhaps one day those ideas will take root.