Sharing gospel after the loss of a loved unbeliever

(Luise Born) #1

Hello, I have been listening to rzim on KARI550 for a number of tears and have heard so many helpful things, thank you!
I have a question: I have an older friend who has a Catholic friend in Hungary who has lost her husband a few years ago. He was a definite atheist, refused to speak about “religion”. My friend is very concerned about this person’s salvation, but when she has tried to talk to her, she says “I just want to be where my husband is”. How do you approach a person who thinks like this, and especially knowing that she will not be with her husband if she gets saved? We really need input for this problem, thank you!
May God bless you and your very necessary ministry!

(Sieglinde) #2

I appreciate this question. I look forward to others input on this. My question is, how can we say definitively that this man was not saved in his last hour? We don’t know what goes on in the death process. So I’m wondering, would you be giving this woman false hope to say her husband may be in heaven? We just don’t know.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #3

Dear @Luizb,

Saw this question as soon as you posted it and have been thinking about it and praying for your friend. I am not going to say I have an answer for you but just some thoughts that might help.

We had a situation a couple years ago where one of our friend’s husband passed away to an accident and was an unbeliever. I didn’t know this friend very well then, but God used that incident to build friendship between us. She needed some practical help with care of her kids and parents and our community group tried to reach out to her, each one of us in whatever capacity we could. She needed comfort and she found great solace through the verses from the Bible and is now praying to Jesus. While she doesn’t talk about it, the thought of her husband and the possibility of not meeting him brings much sorrow to her. The only comfort we have for her is that Jesus can bear all her sorrows. Now she often says, “No one can love as Jesus does! Everyone can love a good person but who can love an enemy or a sinner? I have never seen the love and forgiveness of Jesus anywhere else!” It’s the love of Jesus that drew her to Jesus. We couldn’t really address anything intellectually to her for a little over a year after the passing away of her husband. We would try and speak a word of encouragement here and there if opportunity arose.

In your friend’s case, it seems she is still hurting and finds comfort in the love that her husband has shown her. Perhaps, we can point her to the love of God. Isn’t God worthy of her love as her husband is? I wonder if she has experienced other suffering that drives her away from God. If God really is responsible for our human suffering, why would He enter our world and subject Himself to our suffering? Why would God bother creating so much beauty in the world that inspires us toward love and joy if man could have survived on much less? Doesn’t the creation show God is love to some extent ? Whatever love we as humans can have for others, we can be confident that God can love much more than that, as He is the author of love. FB Myer writes – “One way or the other, we must all learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the giver. The gift may last for a season, but the giver is the only eternal love”.

1 John 4: 10,16 – This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice of our sins…And so we know and rely on the love of God for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in them”.

Perhaps you could consider sharing some verses from the Bible of God’s love for us and how it is not any less than what we humans show each other. For instance - He cared for children, He promises to comfort and strengthen us, He fed His disciples, He washed the feet of His disciples, He loved the marginalized, He knows all the details of our life even the number of our hairs, He prays for us, He is willing to carry our burdens for us, He lifts the burden of guilt from all our sin, He understands our pain, He is never far from us, He keeps His promises, He gives us direction, He wants us to share in His joy and heals the brokenhearted. We know we can trust Jesus’s words as He kept His words about His resurrection. When we dont understand Him, we can trust that God’s ways are different from ours and His answer may be different from ours.

Is 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Finally, as has been shared by @sig, only God knows the condition of everyone’s heart before death and God of all the earth will do what is just and right (Gen 18:25). Your friend seems to believe that her husband is still living somewhere and wants to go meet him. So, she seems to believe in some form of eternity. Would she want to know the One who lives forever and has placed eternity in our hearts? A place where our thirsts are truly satisfied – even to fill the void of wanting to meet her husband? God forbid but if she brings up the thought that her husband is being punished in hell and she wants to join him in hell, I guess I might say - if she believes hell is true then her husband who loves her much would not want her to suffer with him (Luke 16:27). May God bless those conversations with your friend. These are all the thoughts I have. If you so desire, I am sure members in this community would be glad to continue to pray when you set out to have these conversations. Just drop in a prayer request in the Christian growth Category. Thanks for your question.

(Sieglinde) #4

Very well said!

(Lakshmi Mehta) #5

Thank you @sig, hopefully God will work in this lady’s heart.

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(Luise Born) #6

Thank you so much for your thoughts, they are all very good points and I will share them with my friend and I am sure she will be able to use them to talk with her friend! Sometimes it really helps to see things in writing like this, thank you and the Lord bless all of you there. I love the radio program, listen on my way home after dropping the kids at school.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #7

@Luizb, Glad to hear that this may be useful in talking to your friend. Thank you for your prayers and blessings for this community and RZIM. RZIM books and messages have been an immense help to me as well and have drawn me to the Connect community. May the Lord send all the love, support and wisdom your friend needs at this time. God bless all your efforts in reaching out to her!

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