We have very little relationship with some of the brothers that know that man. That is one defect we have—not everybody understands the responsibility of caring for people like you described.
We know of other opportunities we have, to go back to some relationships that we’ve lost along the way. To some extent we’ve tried to bridge those gaps, and we’ve gone back to people that we’ve lost contact with over the years. But I think there are still more opportunities out there with people we’ve lost touch with. We have to see those and go after them.
A few years ago we might have approached those situations quite differently. We had very little light in our own lives, concerning our own problems. But as time has passed and changes have come into our own lives, we have a little more of a sense of responsibility for those who have lost their way. In the case of the particular brother that we were talking about, he lost his way and there were signs along the way, as you said. We could see it but no one did anything.
We still have so many people who have a paradigm that limits how closely or how deeply we are “allowed” to walk with them in reality. People say, “It’s my personal life and you can only go so far in my life. Beyond that point you can’t touch anything. You’re not going to talk to me about my marriage, and you’re not going to talk to me about my children.”
We can’t do that though, you know?! That mindset in people is a big challenge we have.
Another aspect, like we were talking about before, is that not everybody understands what we mean by “church” or “Christian.” People have to understand what the true definitions are before they will understand the other issues. They won’t know where you’re coming from if you start challenging them because even though the terminology is the same, the actual meaning is different. In our hearts it’s something that means so much to us and when we share with them, we’re trying to draw them into understanding things the way Christ sees them. It isn’t that a person can be a Christian “by association” and by the fact that they go to certain places on certain days. Part of the battle we wage here is trying to bridge the gap between what they think and what is actually the truth.
And again, there’s the covenant issue that you were talking about. Does Christ really live in that man? Did he ever look at his own life and ask himself if he is truly a Christian? If these things are not touching him, not moving him, not cutting him to the heart, then he should be asking himself if he ever made a covenant with God. Does he look at me and say, “It’s just your opinion. It’s just your interpretation”? There will be loss if he continues in his sin and continues on this path.
There are lives that are hurting and lives that are in disarray. They don’t understand what Christ is all about and what is really happening. It’s like we have to reeducate a Christian about the principles of Christ! We may need to say, “You know what, it’s not about ‘feeling’ something. It’s about whether you truly believe what Jesus said. What do you believe in? What is it that is valuable to you?”