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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Let us talk about faith

Vieraskieliset / In-english
16.11.2020 9.15

Juttua muokattu:

11.11. 14:30
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I am pon­de­ring and tur­ning sen­ten­ces around in my mind. I al­re­a­dy have a pile of pa­pers co­ve­red in wri­ting. But I am still won­de­ring if I should write about this to­pic, alt­hough my friend en­cou­ra­ged me to do so?

Then I have a phone call, a very per­ti­nent one. We talk about the same thing. How could we ap­p­ro­ach a per­son who is strug­g­ling with doubts or has al­re­a­dy gi­ven up faith? What would be the good way to make con­tact and dis­cuss?

Should I en­cou­ra­ge my child to con­ti­nue to be friends with a yo­ung per­son who has gi­ven up faith, or should I sug­gest withd­ra­wing from such friends­hip – fe­a­ring that my child might al­so end up de­nying his or her faith? If I were in a si­mi­lar si­tu­a­ti­on, how would I hope that ot­hers would ap­p­ro­ach me or my child? Would it be okay for them to re­ject me and avoid me like so­me­o­ne with pla­gue? To le­a­ve me out be­cau­se I am no lon­ger part of the group?

I un­ders­tand that pa­rents wor­ry about their child­ren, but it would be good to re­mem­ber that love works bet­ter than hat­red and re­jec­ti­on.

It might be use­ful to fol­low the ad­vi­ce my god­mot­her gave me when I was yo­ung: Keep in con­tact with those who have gi­ven up their faith and talk about faith. Most im­por­tant­ly: show them you care – even when they strong­ly di­sag­ree with you about faith.

I have of­ten fond­ly re­mem­be­red my god­mot­her. She took her role as a god­pa­rent se­ri­ous­ly, sup­por­ting my pa­rents in their ef­forts to bring up their child­ren in Chris­ti­an faith.

When a dear per­son gi­ves up his or her faith, many kinds of emo­ti­ons are tang­led up in our minds. If that per­son is our child, we may look at the er­rors we feel we have made while brin­ging up that child. We may feel ang­ry, po­wer­less, fe­ar­ful, doub­ting, di­sap­poin­ted and sad. But we al­so feel love and gra­ti­tu­de to­ward that dear per­son.

I have per­so­nal­ly found con­so­la­ti­on in ser­mons, songs of Zion and pra­yer as well as dis­cus­si­ons. It is com­for­ting to hear a child or a friend say that they feel lo­ved by both their fa­mi­ly and their friends. That those pe­op­le ac­cept them as in­di­vi­du­als, alt­hough they may not al­wa­ys ac­cept the things they have done. It has been touc­hing to hear com­ments like this: “It was good you wan­ted to talk about this.” or “Thanks for co­ming to bring me home”.

Es­pe­ci­al­ly when tal­king with our own child­ren, we tend to mix emo­ti­ons and facts. We may aim at const­ruc­ti­ve dis­cus­si­on, yet end up with anyt­hing but. There may be sul­king, loud ar­gu­ments or re­fu­sal to lis­ten.

We so­me­ti­mes seem to find sui­tab­le words qui­te ea­si­ly and be ab­le to ap­p­ro­ach the ot­her per­son with a lo­ving and mer­ci­ful at­ti­tu­de. We may be ab­le to speak di­rect­ly but ap­p­re­ci­a­ti­ve­ly. But there may al­so be so much strain bet­ween the par­ties that, no mat­ter what we say, our words on­ly make things wor­se.

Yet, si­len­ce is ne­ver a good so­lu­ti­on in the long run. Prob­lems are ref­lec­ted in in­ter­per­so­nal re­la­ti­ons even if they are not dis­cus­sed. Sec­re­cy does not pro­mo­te sin­ce­ri­ty.

I be­lie­ve in the im­por­tan­ce of dis­cus­si­on. Or in­te­rac­ti­on in ge­ne­ral, even in wri­ting. If you wrote a di­a­ry when you were yo­ung, it would be good to go back to yo­ur di­a­ry ent­ries. That may help you to un­ders­tand the yo­ung per­son’s way of thin­king.

I have found that things ra­re­ly clear up if you simp­ly turn them over in yo­ur own mind. At le­ast my ima­gi­na­ti­on may turn mi­nor con­cerns in­to huge mons­ters! Whe­ne­ver you dare to open yo­ur mouth and un­bur­den yo­ur mind to so­me­o­ne, even a comp­le­te stran­ger, you will find you are not alo­ne with yo­ur thoughts.

You may al­so find sup­port so­mew­he­re qui­te unex­pec­ted. My thoughts have oc­ca­si­o­nal­ly been cla­ri­fied by a dis­cus­si­on with so­me­o­ne who has va­lu­es comp­le­te­ly dif­fe­rent from mine but has a lot of life ex­pe­rien­ce.

I have been won­de­ring about the ex­pe­rien­ces of some of my ac­qu­ain­tan­ces. Be­lie­vers came to ask a per­son how he was doing on­ly af­ter he had lost his faith. Be­fo­re that, no-one had been in­te­res­ted in his life. Anot­her ac­qu­ain­tan­ce told me that no-one as­ked her why she had gi­ven up her faith. She said it see­med like no-one re­al­ly ca­red.

Ma­y­be, ove­rall, we should be more in­te­res­ted in ot­her pe­op­le. Do were re­al­ly want to know how they are doing? Or is it ea­sier to re­main ig­no­rant? Should we do like the old be­lie­vers did and ask: ”Do you have pe­a­ce with God? How is yo­ur faith?”

And what if we al­so had the cou­ra­ge to dis­cuss faith with un­be­lie­vers? The way my pa­rents did 25 ye­ars ago. We had two ca­su­al ac­qu­ain­tan­ces come in­to our home who did not know each ot­her. When the lat­ter was gree­ted with ”God’s Pe­a­ce”, he said, “Un­for­tu­na­te­ly, I can­not re­turn that gree­ting yet.”

To me that si­tu­a­ti­on did not seem at all em­bar­ras­sing. Rat­her it was touc­hing. And what was best, that man was gi­ven the grace to be­lie­ve his sins for­gi­ven that very same eve­ning. He is still be­lie­ving.

That event was so sig­ni­fi­cant to me that I still feel a spe­ci­al bond with the pe­op­le who were pre­sent that eve­ning. I re­mem­ber if of­ten and hope that all pe­op­le who do not yet be­lie­ve would ex­pe­rien­ce the mi­rac­le of re­pen­tan­ce.

Let us keep our doors open and care about ot­hers. "For as long as there is life there is hope."

Text: Sal­la Pät­si

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.

4.12.2020

Si­nun puo­lee­si, Her­ra, minä kään­nyn. Ju­ma­la­ni, si­nun apuu­si minä luo­tan.

En­hän luo­ta tur­haan, et­hän an­na vi­hol­li­sil­le­ni sitä rie­mua, et­tä he voit­ta­vat mi­nut! Ps. 25:1–2

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