By   •   February 28, 2013   •   Topics:


How do you know when to rebuke someone for the way they're living, and when to lay off and just pray they'll wise up and turn to God? This is the situation with our son. He's let us know he's tired of us getting after him, but we're still concerned.


It’s not always easy to know when to speak and when not to speak in situations like this; as the Bible says, there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).

If we know someone is headed toward moral and spiritual disaster, why wouldn’t we rebuke them and try to make them realize what will happen? But if they steadfastly refuse to listen, then sometimes the only thing we can do is let them know we still love them and pray for them, even if we don’t approve of what they’re doing. They know where we stand, and it’s better to try to keep our relationship alive than cut it off. If they do come to their senses later on, they’ll be more likely to come back to us.

Do you remember Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son? (You can read it in Luke 15.) I’m sure the father repeatedly warned his son of the dangers he faced because of his rebellion, but the son refused to listen, and his father finally let him go. Eventually, the son’s sins caught up with him and he returned to his father — who joyously welcomed him home. God does the same with us.

Pray for your son, knowing that God is able to do what you cannot, and He can influence his life even when you can’t. Remember: God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

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  1. Kathy says:

    There is someone in our family who is living a lifestyle that God does not approve of and refuses to listen. This article helps us know what we need to be doing….pray and love.

  2. pam says:

    The last paragraph written above: “Pray for your son”…My son is exactly whom I have been concerned about. I can't, but God can. Please God…Help..Thank you

  3. Peggy says:

    Yes what we don't want is the broken relationship..I forget about that and say words that I have to go back and repent of..Pray for me to use Jesus..

  4. N says:

    I hope this advice is the same if the person is a spouse.

  5. alice says:

    I feel sometimes I have failed somehow because of the way they act as adults. I don't understand were they are coming from the the things they do I give God has to fix this and I know he can.

  6. L says:

    My Companion of 7yrs left me… and he is living is in bondage of addictions of porn and dating sites (lusting of other women) just prayn for him daily that GOD release him of these addictions and that we can work this out..

  7. Johan. says:

    When my wife and i got our confirmed in our church many years ago, the Rev. spoke a very true word by saying that there are alot of good people in the world but who do not believe in God. Indeed theres a time to speak out and a time to be silent !

  8. Eke says:

    Please forgive me Father, for my mouth gets in the way of your will. I truly believe it is your will that I speak in kind, I feel that I am speaking in righteousness to my children with your authority, however, my delivery may cause more harm.

  9. Cathy says:

    Thank you for this question and answer. I have a friend who committed adultery and is now about to marry this woman. I've tried to show him that God didn't bring them together as he stated God had. Nothing I did worked. God can do it, though.

  10. M says:

    As a son and dad I too have experienced both sides. From my own mistakes made, I remembered a time when my dad sat with me silently listening and then asked what life I wanted to live. He always listened w/no anger, I just wanted him to be proud dad.