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Establish Boundaries

White Chair in an Empty Room

One of the most common complaints of former Christians is that they tire of having conversations with loved ones who are constantly trying to reconvert them. Eventually, those relationships become strained and lead to resentment, that in turn can lead to estrangement. And yet, at the same time, they need to understand that this news is something that you need to process. Part of that process will be the opportunity to have further conversations with them. You can’t force them to have further conversations with you but if you frame it as follows then it will increase the odds of getting a positive response.


As you can imagine, this is hard for me to hear. I need some time to process it. Would you be open to talking about this in the near future? Maybe we can set aside a time next week and get together to chat about our new reality. We can talk about how to navigate it, so it doesn’t lead to both of us becoming frustrated with each other.


When you have that conversation, share with them that you want to respect them by not raising the issue every time you see them. Ask if they would be open to having a few follow-up conversations with you to help you understand better what led them to conclude they no longer identify as a Christian. Allow them to set the terms of how often these conversations happen and how open they are to hearing apologetic responses from you that attempt to make the case for Christianity. If they are afraid that every time they visit or talk to you on the phone that you are going to challenge them, you can expect fewer visits and phone calls. But if they know that there are specific times and dates set aside when you both agree to discuss matters of faith it will be much less damaging to your relationship.

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