Q. My wife is a non-believer. She claims to be an atheist, but that is hardly possible because she is angry with God because of the hatred and injustice espoused by many who call themselves Christians. I pray that God will enlighten her and draw her to Christ but, to avoid conflict in the home, I fail in my duty to witness to her as much as I should. You and I have concurred that she is in God’s hands, and that all I can do, realistically, is to pray for her salvation.
Yet, I love her, and I fear for her eternal destiny. I keep thinking, what can I do? What can I say (as if there were some magical words I could say at just the “right time” that would suddenly awaken her)? I feel that God will hold me accountable if she is lost. I have grown weary and fail to pray as consistently as I should for her. What will Jesus say to me if she is lost because of my weak faith and my failure to pray as I should? How much am I to blame if that happens?
A. Like everyone else in the world, your wife is responsible for her own salvation. Rejecting the pardon the Lord has offered her because she doesn’t like the behavior of others is an excuse, not a reason. It’s like turning down a free car because you don’t like the way some people drive. God knows this isillogical, and at some level she does, too.
You will not be held accountable for her refusal to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence of God’s existence. Many of us have friends and loved ones who simply won’t “get it” and we all have lapses in our prayers for them. God doesn’t want anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But not even He can force a person to believe in Him, or to accept the only remedy He’s provided for our sins. It’s a choice He’s given to each of us, and we have to make it ourselves. No one can do it for us.
If you’ve shared the Gospel with her and answered her questions, and if you have prayed for her you’ve done your part. You can resolve to be more diligent in praying, but you cannot be held responsible for her refusal to allow the Lord’s death to make atonement for her sins.