Walking Away from the Faith: What We Can Learn from Joshua Harris

I was deeply saddened to hear the recent news regarding well-known
author and speaker Joshua Harris. First, Harris and his wife, Shannon, announced
they have chosen to divorce after 21 years of marriage. Harris made his
announcement in an Instagram
post
.

A few days later, in another post, he declared that he’d undergone “a massive shift” regarding his faith in Jesus and that he no longer
considers himself a Christian.

Although Joshua suggests that these decisions were the result
of “significant changes” he’d undergone in recent years, he hasn’t specifically
described what has led to such dramatic shifts in his philosophy and worldview.

First and foremost, we should pray for Joshua and Shannon and
their three children: Emma, Kate, and Joshua. The days ahead will undoubtedly
be painful and challenging for each of them. I do not know the status of the
faith of the other family members, but please pray with me that they would
press deeper into a relationship with the Lord even as Joshua, at least for
now, has moved in a different direction.

Critics of Christianity are gloating over a former pastor and
Christian spokesman renouncing the faith. But Joshua Harris is not the
first—nor will he be the last—to do so. In fact, as our culture becomes
increasingly hostile to Christianity, I believe it is likely that more people
will choose a similar path.

Again, I don’t know why Joshua made these decisions, nor do I
want to speculate. I do, however, want to use this opportunity as a “teachable
moment” in my own life to take inventory and make sure I’m doing all I can to
maintain a vibrant relationship with the Lord—one that will stand the test of
time. I urge you to do the same.

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the Apostle Paul
writes, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after
preaching to others I myself
should be disqualified” (ESV). He’s saying that our faith is a journey that
requires us to practice discipline—being faithful in prayer, Scripture reading,
church involvement, close fellowship with other believers, etc.—as we intentionally
pursue an ever-deepening walk with our Savior.

Though the Harrises’ situation has received a great deal of media
attention, we do know their challenges are not unique. Every month our
counseling department fields on average 2,000 calls from other families facing
similar crises either in their relationships and/or their faith. It’s our
privilege to come alongside them with the hope, comfort and enduring truth of the
Scriptures.

Indeed, Focus on the Family has stood on the principles found
in God’s Word since our inception in 1977, and we continue to do so. We believe
redemption through Jesus Christ offers people true hope in a world of confusion
where personal feelings matter more than objective truth.

If you are facing struggles in your own life, we have caring Christian counselors on staff, and it would be
their privilege to offer you a free initial consultation. Call us, leave your
name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The
number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY
(232-6459).

I also want to remind you of our marriage
intensive Hope Restored. If you’re on the brink of divorce, these marriage
intensives can go a long way toward restoring your hope, facilitating healing
between you and your spouse, and bringing restoration to your relationship. The
number for Hope Restored is 1-866-875-2915, or visit online.

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Jim Daly

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