DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Our son just left to go back to college, and although I hate to admit it, it was a relief to see him go. He came home this summer with all sorts of strange ideas, and said he no longer believes in God. All we did was argue, but that didn’t get us anywhere. Any advice? — N.M.
DEAR N.M.: Arguing, I’m afraid, seldom leads to anything but more arguing (although sometimes it can’t be avoided). As the Bible wisely says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
In college, your son is encountering people and ideas he may never have faced before, and he’s not necessarily prepared to weigh them and think through them clearly. Nor is it easy for students to swim against the strong secular streams (so to speak) that flow through most colleges and universities today. (As a footnote, I think our churches and schools could do much more to prepare young people for the challenges they’ll face, either in college or on the job.)
First, pray for your son, that his mind and heart will be open to God’s truth. Pray, too, that God will bring across his path students and teachers who know Christ and can help him think through the issues he’s facing.
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Finally, let your son know that you love him, even when you disagree. In addition, strengthen your commitment to Christ and his will for your lives. Does your son see Christ reflected in you by the way you live and the love you have for others (including him)? He may not agree with what you say, but he can’t argue with your love. Don’t give up hope; with God’s help your son will change as he grows older.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or visit www.billygraham.org.
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