I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (
I know that everyone is reachable because I was once that prodigal, so far from God, but the tough love of a Christian father and the tenacious prayers of a godly mother reached me. When others might have given up and it seemed I was a hopeless case, God in His grace responded to my parents and I was delivered from hell fire. How can we reach difficult family members?
PROOF MUST BE PRESENTED (v.1-2). David was giving eyewitness testimony of his experience of forgiveness. He was a frail man, yet a forgiven man. His life had been changed by the power of God and it was real. We must be the living proof that Jesus saves and transforms us by grace, if we are to make an impact on our family. Only those in whom Christ has made a difference will be able to make a difference.
PAIN MUST BE PERMITTED (v.3-5). David’s turning to God was a direct result of the pain he experienced. The discipline of God fell on him and that brought him to his knees. If we want to reach the tough cases in our family, we must be willing to let them experience pain. I know a parent’s temptation is to try to spare our kids of all pain. When they make wrong choices, we tend to intervene and remove the consequences. Some make it a habit of bailing their kids out—and they never learn. Is there anything as painful as to be cast into the lake of fire—to suffer eternal separation from God? Then, we must pray, “God whatever it takes!”
PRAYER MUST BE PRACTICED (v.6). David reminds us of the power of prayer to rescue those who are in danger of being swept away by the floods of ungodliness. I don’t know of a force any greater than the faithful, fervent prayers of a mother or father. A husband may refuse to heed our witness, but he cannot silence your prayers. You may not have heard from your son in a long time—you’re not even sure where he is—but your prayers can be like a guided missile seeking their target. God knows where that granddaughter is and how to reach her.
PATIENCE MUST BE PRESERVED (v.7). David saw God as His hiding place—that when doubts and fears assailed him, the Lord would enable him to endure. You will face the same struggle when trying to reach a resistant parent or unbelieving spouse or rebellious child or wandering grandchild. You will be tempted to give up, to give in, or to give out. Patience must be preserved. David was able to sing of the deliverance he was sure would come.
PRECEPTS MUST BE PROCLAIMED (v.8-9). Our lifestyle is paramount to reaching our lost family members. There is a time to be silent and to let our actions speak and there also may be a time when a verbal witness is called for. We need to talk to them about the things of God. Most people are saved, not through the influence of a preacher, but a parent.
PROMISES MUST BE POSSESSED (v.10-11). The promise is that, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” None are unreachable. This is the promise of God.