What can one do when their child becomes involved in a known cult or a questionable Church? The circumstances are not always the same, so there is no set pattern to use for ones deliverance. But there are some guidelines that can help before and afterward.
Warning signs: If your child has joined a church that now has taken up all his time. That he or she has just informed you that he wants to move out from your home and move in with the members. If he has given up his goals and the aspirations he had to further his education very quickly after joining. Or he dropped the sports that he has always practised. If he starts speaking different lingo and does not share what it means or says. Or he says you wonít understand why he is doing these new things. He starts to dress differently and loses interest quickly in his oldest friends. Anytime there is a very quick change in personality and lifestyle influenced by the new group they are attending and they cannot explain or, share the reasons. These are all warning signs that cult like changes have begun. Everyone should be able to give rational explanations for change especially if it is the Lordís doing.
If one is already faced with his child joining there are some basic guidelines to follow. The first thing one need to do is avoid pushing one to make a decision to leave. The reason for this is that they are probably being told this will happen from their parents and friendís, so they look upon this as Satan attacking. So one needs to be as patient and understanding as possible even if they know it is wrong.
Scriptures are often used about leaving your family or Christ came to divide. While these are all true they need to be interpreted right. Groups often bring biblical teaching to an extreme. You can show them other passages like Jesus taking care of his own mother giving her over into hands of John even from the cross (In.19) Paul says in Eph.6:2, ďHonour your father and mother,Ē which is the first commandment with promise. What is meant is that a family that is unbelieving is not to have hold over one that believes and influence toward ungodliness. What happens is that cults divide a family that was once
together as believers which is certainly not the intent of the passages used in Mk.10:29; Lk.12:53. As Jesus said about his family being there to see him. Luke 8:21″But He answered and said to them, ďMy mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.Ē He didnít separate from his blood family, but explained the true meaning of family and their relationship to God. Certainly Mary his mother obeyed God, yet his brothers and sisters were non believers until after the resurrection: (James and J4de).
It was John the Baptists ministry to prepare the people for the Messiah. Luke 1: 17 ďHe will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, Ďto turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,í and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.Ē Notice that there is to be reconciliation. This is a partial quote from Mal.4:5 which further states and…Ē the hearts of the children to their fathersĒ… reconciliation of the family. If they have turned your child away from honoring you then they are dishonouring God. Jesus did not go against honouring your father and mother. If one continues one relationship of parental care and reminds them of all the things they have done and gone through as a family, it will reinforce the love and commitment they are now being told replaces it. This may not yield results immediately but it needs to be said over and over again to counter what they may be saying.
I realise that not all families had an optimum situation and divorce may have transpired as well as other unique situations. This is why there is no set method for success; all situations are not the same. But love is and it never fails and there is nothing that can interfere with family that has unconditional love.
One needs to know the doctrines they are being taught to address it correctly. This will take patience, understanding, kindness as well as being firm. If one does not know the basics of what the group their child or loved one is involved, it becomes all the harder to explain why it may be wrong. Donít be afraid to challenge them to have an answer but if you force an immediate answer it will repel them. Asking questions of interest helps break down the walls. Such as why they were attracted. Often you will find that it is not just a doctrinal reason but an emotional need that was missing. Usually friendship or someone that showed they cared for them as a person.
Constantly reaffirm when they are ready to leave that youíll be there for them. Leaving the group which has become their replacement family can be extremely hard.
They are usually taught that to leave the group is to leave God. This is where friends and loved ones need to be there for their child no matter what has taken place or how long it has been. If you are not there with open arms they see no where else to go and will stay.
The hardest time is the transition period, one need to constantly support them or they will run back to the group. Itís like swimming through long and choppy seas. But when someone has made it to shore safely and is welcomed, the healing process can begin. God can change the circumstances and often times the family will grow closer together with one another and have a greater trust and honesty in their relationships after going through this turmoil together.
Dr Akpogena resides in Port Harcourt.
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