In a dream I had recently, I saw a woman who was trying to make a frog win a frog race. She was well dressed in a formal suit. She owned the frog and was determined that she would win the race with it. She got down on her hands and knees and pounded the ground next to the frog to scare it into moving toward the finish line. Like all frogs, it didn’t know the purpose of the race, nor the importance of winning. It just wanted to get away from the threat, the woman who threatened its life. The frog, in a panic, moved away, but not in the direction of the finish line. Anger rose in the woman as the frog didn’t head in the right direction. Fear rose in the frog as it perceived her anger as she pounded more adamantly from a different angle. The frog, being consumed with self-preservation, didn’t see the luscious pile of worms awaiting him on the other side of the finish line.
Both sets of eyes were focused on the wrong thing. The frog was focused on avoiding the woman. The woman was focused on the frog and making him move the way she wanted. Neither was focused on what was beneficial to them. As I awoke, God said to me, “Isn’t this like you trying to push your loved one in the right direction so they can win the race of life by making the right choices? And yet, because you interfere out of your desires and anger, they do not even consider the possibility of moving into victory on their own. They are just trying to avoid getting hurt by you. They can’t hear or see Me showing them the right direction. They can’t see the reward I have for them.”
In light of this story, let’s ask some questions:
Has my loved one been negatively influenced by my “Christian” actions and words so they feel condemnation and thereby reject You?
Have I been forcing my loved one to jump in the direction I want them to move?
Has my loved one fallen away because they perceive the church doesn’t represent the heart and nature of God regarding the hurting and the lost? (This is particularly true in the millennial population.)
Has my Christian community put demands on them that aren’t from You and, as a result, have forced them away?
Has my loved one been turned off by the church due to its actions and attitudes towards them?
Christ didn’t force His disciples into a group that mimicked Him in actions and deeds. He took a group of diverse individuals and worked with their strengths and tolerated many of their weaknesses through His direct interactions, thereby demonstrating His love and truth without judgment. He taught rather than judged. He challenged them to receive children, even with their imperfections and simplicity of understanding (Luke 9:46-50). He even gave grace to those that took liberties to cast out demons from people with little understanding or perceived authority. He stated, “Do not hinder him; for he who isn’t against you is for you” (Luke 9:50).
If you answered “yes” to some or all of these questions, or feel convicted by them, pray the following verbally:
Father, please forgive me for turning the desires of my heart into a race that needs to be won for my loved one. Forgive me for putting fear and intimidation into the dynamics of my loved one’s spiritual growth. I repent for being so focused on the actions of my loved one that I forget You are the one calling and beckoning them to Yourself. Forgive me for hindering their growth and promoting a wrong focus.
I forgive my church that may have judged and ostracized my loved one through expectations and constraints, that created a rules-based religion rather than a heart-based one. I forgive my church for requiring conformity that has caused my loved one to question if they want to be part of it. I forgive the church for lacking the engagement and relevancy this next generation needs.
Please forgive me if I have contributed to the pressure my loved one has felt because I tried to conform them to my faith and belief framework. I do not want to major on the minor issues. Instead, I want to dwell on what is essential, which is a living, personal faith uniquely based on my loved one’s design and gifts.
I forgive my loved one for not looking beyond the hurt and pain they experienced from the judgment they have felt from the body of Christ. I forgive them for judging and becoming embittered towards the church. I forgive them for outward and silent rebellion that has caused their minds to be clouded and closed to the simple truth of the gospel.
I ask Holy Spirit to come and intervene in the situation and refocus my loved one on the simple truth that they are a spiritual being in need of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Nothing else matters to me right now. I release them into Your hands. In Jesus’ name. Amen.