I just came back from visiting you in another State. I was encouraged by the opportunities I was given to witness and minister, but I am discouraged by the sad condition of my people.
I saw you living in conflict, each one fighting to be the one in charge. The youngest son, 9 years-old, has learned how to set traps for his parents. He's learned how to divide his mother and father against one another. Momma and Poppa don't need any help with that. They're divided already. The wife has put the children first in her household. Father is assumed to be under suspicion, but the children are assumed to be blameless. The older son, 15 years-old, wasn't raised any better. He is liable to sit by and watch Dad be condemned by Mom and little brother for committing made-up crimes. Big brother might have first hand knowledge of Dad's innocence in the matter at hand, but it might be to his strategic advantage to keep silent. Though I have not seen big brother do that, I know that he used to practice the same manipulation as little brother. I was once a victim of big brother's schemes. I saw a train wreck of a family, and it breaks my heart.
I'm pretty sure that each one of you; Mom, Dad, and the two boys consider yourselves to be Christian. But you treat each other much too often like you don't know Christ at all. You act like you are ashamed of the Gospel. You've clearly bought into the notion that the Bible is a book of old stories that has no relevance to your lives. Yet you feed on practically all of the pig slop that this American culture serves up. Your hearts and minds are far from God, as demonstrated by your interactions with each other. If only you knew what Christ said the about the human heart and hypocrisy!
If only Mom and Dad knew what God says about marriage, family life, and how to raise up children. But you don't want to hear about it, because you think you're good people. Never mind the fact that you treat each other with contempt. Each one is convinced in his or her own mind that the other one is the problem. You are smart, but it would be better for you if you were humble.
If you truly knew Jesus Christ, then you would be concerned about sin, righteousness, and judgment. You should be alarmed that the fruit of the Spirit is absent in your dealings with one another. You'd practice forgiveness and restoration instead of vengeance and division. Christians would bless and encourage one another, not curse and lash out at spouse or child. Only God knows if you truly believe. Your actions indicate that you have little love for one another, which is a sign of unbelief.
I love you dearly, but who else is going to speak the truth to you? I don't know. I'd rather be an outcast and lose the relationship I have with you, than to say nothing and see you continue on this way.
Dad, Mom, and boys...you ought to be concerned about your relationship with God. Christians are supposed to act like God's people. He doesn't save you, because you're good. He offers you salvation in Christ, because you're a dirty rotten sinner and you're condemned. He saves you, because you can't save yourself. He says that a believer is going to demonstrate their faith in action. He says that the world will know that you belong to Him, because you'll have love for one another. If you believe, then you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you to accomplish these things in your lives. Where is the Spirit in your lives? What will He say about your heart when you stand before Him?
You know that God sees into your heart, don't you? You should know that, because the Bible tells us so. (See the later part of John chapter 2 for one of many places where that is given). Have you thought about what Christ would say about contents of your heart? He says that what you say and do comes from your heart. He says that you lie when you say you are His, but then you turn around and act like a child of the Satan.
What is the sum total of your Christian life? The answer to that is an indication of whether you are a believer or a make-believer. Do you know what else He says about one who says they believe and yet acts like a devil? He says that you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven for others by making a mockery of the Gospel. You may not care about your eternal soul, but what about the others?
I write these things knowing that others will gladly contradict them. You'll have no trouble finding someone who will tell you that the Bible doesn't really mean what it says. You can find pastors and priests who will tell you what you'd rather hear. After all, how do you think we've come to this sad condition as a people?
Have you noticed any positive change in me since I became a Christian ten years ago? Have I been a blessing to you? If there is anything good in me, then it is by the grace of God and His work in me through the Holy Spirit. God will do the same for you if you turn to Him. The kindness of God is meant to turn you to repentance. Why don't you ask Him to teach you to bless each other? Ask in honest faith and it shall be given unto you.
I run the risk of becoming a laughingstock and a stranger to you because I'm concerned for you. I'd rather be outcast than see you continue to reap judgment. God will restore honor to your house through you, if you will only submit to Him.
PS: I haven't actually sent this letter to you, my family. You won't understand, because you're in darkness. I just hope and pray God will continue to give me opportunities to speak the words of life to you so that you might hear and believe.