Every day there are thousands of people who walk away from their faith. This becomes personal when it includes friends, pastors, and family members. Most startling is the number of high school and college students from good homes and churches give up on their relationship with God. Up to 80% of ‘Christian’ students walk away from their faith during their college experience. This travesty goes unnoticed by most Christians and churches but, when a well-known Christian superstar loses his or her faith, it makes the headlines and in some circles, hysteria breaks out.
Christian author Randy Alcorn responds to people whose faith wobbles and falls as a result of their hero’s fall. “If I could share just one message in light of the high-profile Christians who have recently made public announcements renouncing their faith, it would be this: you should lose your faith…if it is in anyone other than Jesus. And you should forsake and reject any worldview, no matter how attractive and seductive and popular and affirming, that is not in concert with the worldview of God’s Word.”
In whom do you put your faith? If your pastor, Bible study leader, friend, or family member walk away from their faith, should you question your own faith? Is your faith grounded on emotions or in the truth of God’s Word?
Paul makes it very clear in whom we should put our trust. Ephesians 1:7-9 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
If our faith is shaken when idols fall, it reveals something very wrong about our own faith. It is good for all of us to ask ourselves: In whom do I trust? Is my faith strong enough to withstand the pressure of temptation? Is the desire of my heart to serve God or receive acclamation from man? Do I have an accountability system set in place with friends or my board to make sure that the purity of our call stays at the forefront of all we do and all we say?
Shock, sadness, disappointment, and grief are natural and appropriate responses when someone we admire falls morally or otherwise walks away from their faith in Jesus. We should pray for these people to repent and return to the Lord. The real victims when this happens are the family and friends. Spending time with those who suffer immeasurable hurt by those who acted out immorally or have (temporally) abandoned their faith. Walking with them through the process of forgiveness and building in them the courage to continue trusting in Jesus, no matter how long it takes, will give them peace and hope.
It is in circumstances like these where a robust biblical worldview is critical. With a solid foundation of faith, we will be able to answer the hard questions that many have but are afraid to ask. A humble heart of compassion to let the person know that they are loved by you and by God begins the process of healing. In all of this, we need to not become discouraged or distracted from what God has called us all to do: to love God and love others well!
2 Timothy 4:1-5 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”