Home Spiritual Growth Discipleship Restoring a Friend to the Faith—Without Pushing Them Away From God

Restoring a Friend to the Faith—Without Pushing Them Away From God

People who fall back into the old patterns of their life before Christ often don’t need to be told what they are doing. It is counterproductive to attempt to wring a confession from them, especially if they know that we know what has happened. When the Spirit is active in a sensitive heart, human pressuring can come across as gloating, which is counteractive to successful restoration.


Most of us have experienced a defensiveness and hardening of our hearts when someone else leans on us because of sinful behavior. It is entirely normal to attempt to justify ourselves if this happens. It is far better to just move forward. Confession, if necessary, will come out a bit at a time as they are restored spiritually. It’s good to bear in mind that while confession to another person can be beneficial, it isn’t always necessary in the process of restoration.

When we become aware that a brother or sister has lost a battle, we can be sure that they are already aware of it. Our job, then, is to encourage them, not to condemn then. Such condemnation (even if it is only implied) could cause them to lose hope and slip even further into temptation’s grip. Gentle probing on things like Christian fellowship, prayer, Bible reading, listening to Christian music, and so on are good, but only if you’re prepared to actually walk with the person on their path to spiritual health.

Women laughing together outdoors
Women laughing together outdoors

This is simply to say, we need to be prepared to make an investment in his or her life. Instead of laying out a list of steps to follow, suggest you would be willing to meet (at whatever frequency you can sustain) to pray together, to read together, and to hang out together. Note the key word is “together.” Sin flourishes when we are spiritually isolated. The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace presents an impenetrable defense against the attacks of the evil one and the weakness of the flesh.

This is not to say that there is no place for confrontation. On occasion, I’ve said things like: “You’re spiritually bankrupt. How can you think of living in this world—in this battle—when your soul is empty? You’ve drained your spiritual bank account and aren’t doing anything to fill it.” However, whenever I’ve said such a thing it has been with a ready offer to be personally involved in helping top up that proverbial spiritual bank account.


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