Reading: Share your heartfelt feelings in the matter

STEP TWO: Influence - Use it!

Philemon 12 I am sending him--who is my very heart--back to you.

4. Share your heartfelt feelings in the matter

My coworker's son stopped going to church soon after he got married. And even when kids came along (that would be my coworker's grandkids), things did not improve. In fact, the kids (grandkids) weren't even baptized.

My coworker did not know what to do. She, of course, prayed about the situation. She and her husband sometimes asked their son and family to go to church with them.

It was hard, they confessed, to talk directly to him about it. So they resorted to little pokes: "So, you are too good to go to church these days?” Or little guilt trips: "It sure would be nice to be able to watch our grandkids in the Christmas program.” Sometimes they would talk about the sermon at their church and how good it was in the presence of their son.

My heart ached for them. I often prayed with my coworker. One day I asked her if she and her husband had ever just poured out their hearts to their son.

Do you have people in your life that are close to you that have walked away from God and/or the church?

She didn't know what I meant. "Of course we did,” she replied.

So I asked a few questions to clarify: "In your heart of hearts, what are your fears about your son, your daughter-in-law and your grandkids?”

She thought for a bit and said, "That they have or will slowly reject Christ, and they will be separated from us for all eternity. That our grandkids will never know Christ.”

"If you could share your heart with your son, what else would you say to him?” I continued.

She looked down. It got real quiet. Tears started to form in the corners of her eyes. She looked up and softly said, "You are my precious son. You are my life, my joy, my purpose. And my heart is breaking for you. I wake up in the middle of the night lost and afraid for you. I try to find you, but you are gone. I feel like I am losing you forever.”

It was very touching. I felt her pain and sorrow. But I knew there was more. "What about your grandkids?”

"When they were born it was the greatest day of my life. They are my treasures. But they are missing out on everything we taught our kids. We do not share our most important connection - faith in Christ.”

"What else could you tell your son and daughter-in-law?” I persisted.

"That we are sorry for any bad example we may have set. Our faith was not always genuine. We often just went through the motions. But now, we read the Bible together every day. We pray together. God shows up. He is real. He gives us what we need. We have a real sense of purpose together. And we want you to have the same thing.”

"Okay,” I responded, "Why don't you give your son a call. Ask him if you can meet at a park or a restaurant - just him and you. Tell him you want to share something vital. Don't tell him what is. Let him worry about it. Then meet with him and share, not your anger, frustration, and desires, but share with him your heart, your fears, your sadness, your hopes, and your dreams. Share your hurt with no agenda.

Your goal here is not to get him to do anything but to hear your heart, to feel the burden that you feel for his very soul. Then ask forgiveness for not modeling your personal walk with God very well during his growing up days, and then share how things have changedin your life - that you now have a real talking and listening relationship with a God that has become real to you.”

It took a lot of courage, but she made the call, had the meeting, and was able to share her heart with her son. Guess what? He listened. He heard for the first time her heart. And he responded by coming back to faith and the church.

Who do you need to call?

Some of you are thinking that sharing your heart is just not you. You don't care for all that touchy, feely stuff. You are a logical, straight-shooting, tell-it-like-it-is kind of person. And that is the way it is.

Paul was like that too. He was trained as a church lawyer, a Pharisee. In fact, before becoming a Christian, Paul was one of the top Pharisees in the Jewish world of his day. Pharisees made their living debating the finer points of Jewish religious law. He was a cold logic debater. But Paul, in his letter to Philemon, shares his heart.

Maybe there are people in your life, people close to you, that have hurt you, and you want to tell them about it. Or maybe there is someone you know well and care about that is struggling with some addiction - alcohol, drugs, gambling, anger, inappropriate Internet browsing, or gossip.

Share your heart. Don't blame. Don't get angry. Don't resort to sarcasm. Don't whine and complain. Share your heart. Share the love you have for this person that is causing your heart to break. Share your heart-brokenness in the matter.

Again don't just read this book. You have to act on these principles if you want them to work in your life.


Philemon 1:12I am sending him--who is my very heart--back to you.The word translated "heart” is literally "bowels” or "one's insides.” Paul is telling Philemon that he is hurting to the very core of his being over sending Onesimus back to Philemon. Why do you think this situation caused Paul such pain?

We want to influence someone - a son, a daughter, a spouse, a friend, a co-worker, a church member - and we often do it poorly, often in anger, maybe with a demanding attitude or perhaps some guilt topped off with an argumentative spirit. A better way might be to share your heart. Tell the person what the situation is doing to you on the inside - the fear, the love, and the pain. Why do we often share concerns with another person poorly?

What is hard about sharing your heart with someone?

To whom and in what situation do you need to share your heart, your feelings?

Last modified: Monday, August 13, 2018, 9:08 AM