Last week we looked at Rescuing the Unresponsive. Let’s look at another aspect of relating to an unresponsive loved one.
Unresponsive people can fall into a wide spectrum of categories. Some loved ones may be deep into self-destructive activity while others are just deep into themselves. In either case, reasoning a loved one into a better place rarely works.
Second Timothy 2:23-26 advises “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
God is the only one who can grant repentance, or change someone’s heart and mind. But when you care and are emotionally invested in a life, it is so easy to believe that persistent or intense prodding (nagging) will make the difference. Be careful not to fall into the trap of quarreling. Our role is to be kind, able to teach, and here’s the really hard part — patient when wronged, which will occur if we are in a relationship with someone who is caught in wrong thinking or destructive behaviors. When correction or instruction is necessary, give it, but do so with gentle strength. In other words, maintain self-control and don’t over react. Don’t let your offended emotions prompt you into words and behavior you will later regret.
Look at this as part of your sanctification. In other words, the process of dealing with those whose problems seem so much greater than my own, exposes the condition of my own heart by causing my short comings to surface where I must face them. Whether it is an angry temper, the desire to control or consuming fears and worries, our need for God’s grace and refinement reminds us that we need a more complete surrender and walk with Him. The Holy Spirit produces “self-control” not “other control.” We mature and experience God through this stressful time as we rely on Him. Your pain is not wasted; God is chiseling out the character of Christ in your heart.
Dealing with an unresponsive heart is a spiritual battle that can’t be won with arguments. Follow this scripture’s counsel “in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” In the mean time, allow God to build your character through the process.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.