Q: We’re not looking forward to Christmas this year. You see, our daughter announced at Thanksgiving that she no longer believes in God, and I’m afraid all we’ll do is argue. She’s in college, and apparently she has been influenced by some professors who have no use for God. How should we react? — T.K.H.
A: Let me tell you first how you should not react: by spending the entire Christmas vacation arguing with your daughter. Even if you win the argument, you’ll probably only poison your relationship. The Bible wisely says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Instead, let your daughter know that you still love her, even if you don’t agree with her. After all, if you only argue, you’ll probably end up driving her farther and farther away from you, and it will be that much harder to help her in the future. Although she may seem to you to be firm in her convictions, over time she may begin to realize that she is on a dead-end road and be open to a genuine faith in God.
Does this mean you simply stand back and do nothing? No, not at all. For one thing, pray for her. Pray that she will realize the hopelessness of atheism and turn from it. Pray too that she will begin to question the “answers” these professors have given her, for they are not true.
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In addition, as you have occasion, point her to books that will challenge her convictions and point her to Jesus. (Your local Christian bookstore can give you suggestions.) Most of all, gently urge her to look at Jesus Christ with an open heart and mind. Only in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.