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Published on February 18th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

How do you respond to hurting people who say untrue things about God?





RUTHIE WRITES: If I come across someone, especially a Christian, who is truly disheartened and questioning God, etc., how should I respond? If at all?

I know that to some degree it really depends on the exact situation. Also, I realize that direct confrontation for a situation should only be within the realms of close friendship.

But what if someone says something untrue, like “God is cruel” or “God probably just doesn’t care about me”? I know the theology and could easily tell them exactly why that isn’t true, but that would likely drive them away.

However, I don’t want to just let them make statements against God unchecked. In the Bible, there were plenty of times when a person just needed to be confronted, uncomfortable as it may be for them. And sometimes what people really need is a dose of reality.

Feel free to give lots of advice or even examples of how you handled one of these situations in your own life, if you feel comfortable doing so.

I tend to be black-and-white and impulsive; speaking graciously has always been a personal struggle. I know that in life I’ll come across these kinds of people, so I want to be well prepared. The last thing I want to do is unintentionally turn someone away from God.

Thanks in advance!


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About the Author

are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]



  • Joy Swen

    Wow. I’m the first to comment. :)
    Well, as a person who was askng qestions like “Does God care?” and “Why would a good God do this to me?” this topic really hones into me.
    Just recently I was, well, kind a fed up with what God was doing. Things like “God has abandoned me.” and “If He was there He wouldn’t let this happen!” and “Why can’t He just snap His fingers and make everything ok!?” The thing that helped me the most was a couple friends of mine GENTALY reminded me that i was wrong. My friend texted me Bible verse after Bible verse about God’s love and His plan. I knew I was wrong, it just took a couple friends to get me to admit it.
    If you know someone who is fed up and saying thongs like “God has abandoned me” or “God is cruel” try showing them Bible verses just about God’s Love. Sometimes all they need is a gental reminder that THEY ARE NOT ALONE! Just that much made my day.
    I encourage you to be careful cause, at least with me, they may be saying those things to cover up a deep inner hurt. I’ve been a Christian for four years, yet when i was faced with the hardest week of my life, i too doubted things I’ve believed for years. I just needed a gental reminder that I was wrong in doubting God.
    I hope this helps.

    • Ruthie C

      I’m sorry you’ve been through so much. Thank you for commenting, it means a lot to hear your perspective!

  • Recently I’ve had a situation where I personally was questioning God. Not His existence, but why He was allowing for my aunt and uncle to divorce. “Oh God, why cant you open their eyes to see how selfish they’re being? Their relationship can be mended, so why are they proceeding with the divorce process?!” Their separation means so much hurt for my family. So why?
    Before I got too upset, I remembered that I only see a small piece (my uncle and aunts separation) but God sees the big picture (their and my future). I remembered my parents circumstances: both of their parents divorced, resulting in them moving around. If their parents didn’t divorce, they wouldn’t have moved, thus not meeting each other. I wouldn’t exist. I am here as a product of selfishness from my grandparents.

    God is using my aunt and uncles divorce. Someday, whether tomorrow or 100 years from now, it is going to be used for something great. He uses these difficult circumstances brought on by the devil to win over hearts and draw people closer to Him. That’s what you need to communicate to someone hurting.
    Some people are stubborn. It’s an extraordinarily tough thing to tell someone, so focused on lies, that God actually cares and actually loves them. Gentleness is key in sharing with someone. Do NOT be aggressive. It will turn people away. Also, make sure you’re live out what you’re telling them. If you’re sharing how Jesus radically changed you through an experience like theirs, then show through your actions that your a new person because of that change.
    A song that this question reminds me of it He Knows by Jeremy Camp. It says in it “he knows/ he knows/ every hurt and every sting/ he has walked this suffering”. That is so true. He does know hurt and He has so much sympathy and love towards people in circumstances that are difficult. Once a hurting person sees this, they are changed!

    • Joy Swen

      Wow. I was/am going through something so similar to what you described. Except for me it was “Why are You letting my best friend almost die?” I love that Jeremy Camp song so much! It took me a lot of tears and a lot of gental help from my friends to realize that God does have a plan in all this chos…even if never see it. I agree. Gentleness is key! (See my comment below for more info.)

      • That reminds me, I plan on posting your article this Sunday or Wednesday. It’s a powerful story! Thank you for submitting it!

        • Joy Swen

          You’re welcome! I know John will appreciate it when I show it to him…some day. I really enjoy your Solders of God, even though I just discovered it a couple days ago. I’ve written some more articles and I can send them to you if you want. I’ll just need to give them a final editing if you’d like to take a look. One’s pretty short, and the other is similar to the one I just sent you.

        • Joy Swen

          Could you please delete the note with the link to John’s website from the bottom of the artical? I wouldn’t like to post that on the web.

    • Ruthie C

      I’m sorry about your aunt and uncle; that must be incredibly difficult. Thank you for sharing — your advice is really helpful.
      I *really* love “He Knows”! That message is so powerful.

  • Ruthie C

    Wow, I just sent this discussion in last week… that was fast! Thanks Brett (or whoever else moderates posts)!

    • Great DQ, Ruthie! :)

      • Ruthie C

        Thanks :) It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

  • Haylie

    This is such a relevant question to teenagers… I think we all deal with this. From my experience with this though, i was on the receiving end of encouragement, and i was the one who was doubting God. A good friend of mine took time to gently tell me the truth about where i was wrong, and showed me that God was right. Please, never be afraid to tell the truth to someone in gentleness and love… it might just save them from making decisions that they will greatly regret. God bless,
    Haylie

    • Ruthie C

      Thanks so much!
      The truth part is easy for me, it’s the gentleness and love part that doesn’t always come naturally… :)

      • Haylie

        Yeah, i totally understand. I know that i can’t be gentle or loving without God on my side 😉

  • Megan Y.

    I love this question, it’s something I’ve learned many ways to work with having a group of non-Christian friends who honestly just don’t see a problem with cussing God out because of all their problems and accept the things of the world. One girl especially I feel is very lost in her feelings, thinking of running away just because if the ‘extra responsibility’ she has at home. Any time God or church or anything religion based is mention she clams up, tells everyone to go away, or, she says things like ‘God could never love me’ and that is where, just from my experience with this person and first having a relationship built up with her, step in and say no no no that’s completely opposite! You know how much I love you? How this group of friends you have loves you? We accept your mistakes and Christ always ALWAYS is willing to forgive and is always waiting for you. He loves you, not just as a general person but you as a unique beautiful individual he created himself because of how much he loves you. Now the situation can change from time to time, like if it’s a person you may not know as well or not at all, but I like to always remind myself that ‘love comes first’. Most of the time we don’t know exactly what people are going through, or simply the way they have been raised and therefore can’t see right from wrong like some of us who’ve encountered such a rich blessing as God’s love and peace…and true joy. Joy is what I like to spread, yes I do that through social media because I’m an introvert and hey talking is the next fear to overcome, but these people need Christ, because I think sometimes the reason they curse Him is because they feel cursed themselves and stuck in the darkness of the world. So, love comes first, joy and light and peace. Being nervous about turning someone away from God is understandable, and yeah, it can always happen but we all make mistakes and we all learn. But if we’re speaking truth then we can rest knowing it’s doing our part planting the seed and up to God to do the rest :)

  • Elizabeth Marie

    I find that the easiest way to encourage a struggling believer is to simply remind them of GOD’s Faithfulness! Tell them NOT to give up on GOD… because HE will NEVER give up on them…

    Remind them of Job (book of Job), Joseph (Gen. 37-50), the Israelites…

    Check out Hebrews 11 (the Faith chapter). It is full of examples and reminders of the Faith of GOD’s people! And really just shows that when HIS people remain Faithful to HIM, HE will continue to bless them! Even if you can’t see the blessing yet…

    If you are trying to encourage a struggling non-believer, then first just listen (get a clear picture and ask questions about what they believe and why). Then ask them if you can pray for them… right there… If they say yes, then pray that GOD would give them wisdom in this situation and thank GOD for HIS love and faithfulness. Sometimes you only run into people once. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Usually this can lead to witnessing! Sometimes it doesn’t. But at least you did SOMETHING. :)

  • Skitterson

    One thing that you could do is to give them a copy of a book on apologetics. I know that you said that you can easily prove to them that God is not cruel, but you didn’t want to drive them away. With their own book, they can read at their own pace, look back at things that they may want to see later, and can be encouraged by some of the greatest minds around. I don’t know if that helps, but I thought maybe it could be useful. : D

  • Eva H.

    Kind of like @brooklynmorrison:disqus, I have been on the other end, I had been the one questioning God. I was in a hard situation in my life, where I wondered if God had left me. I was angry at Him for not helping me and I said some of the things you mentioned to myself and also to my parents at times.
    What I wanted most from other people was not for them to preach at me, to tell me that I was wrong and then state Bible verses and things like that. I needed love and what @colettesweers:disqus said, to know that I was not alone.
    I think what is the most effective in a situation like that is just to represent Christ in the way you act and treat them. That is the best way to show them Christ’s love. Be gentle, and if they are close to you, tell them that you love them and give them compliments. Encourage them, don’t reprimand them. Sometimes you can’t change their mind about God, it has to be God that does the changing. That is what God did for me, but with my family’s support all the way.
    And of course, continually pray for them! I think you were mostly talking about an in the moment, what do you say to them kind of thing, but I know for a fact that prayer is extremely powerful, and God will guide you in exactly what to say when you are faced with a doubting friend.

    • Ruthie C

      Thank you for giving your perspective; I’m really sorry you’ve been through a lot.
      Praying FIRST is probably the most important thing I can do, thanks for reminding me. :)

  • God has many plans for us and He knows what to do. God did not give us suffering but He allows us to suffer for a purpose. Yes you can question God but remember being a Christian doesn’t always have a good life. Sometimes we are being tested but the what we could do is pray and trust in Him. It’s like when Jesus said that if we follow Him we also will be hated, persecuted, and killed. I recommend reading Job it might just clear your mind a bit.

  • Joyful joyful

    Are you talking about the random person you overheard at the grocery store, or the close friend going through a hard time?
    Everyone goes through times when their faith seems to be at a low point, and most people at some time or another wrestle with doubt. People need to do this. If a friend is going through a time like this, be there for them, and be a gentle reminder of Christ’s unending love. If someone is hurting, they probably need a friend more than logic.
    If someone is mad at God, there is probably a root issue, and that is what needs to be addressed. Have you seen God’s not Dead? The professor is a good example. His problem with God was not that he didn’t think he existed, but that he was hurt from what had happened earlier in life. He didn’t misunderstand how God exists, but instead why bad things happen.
    Look for the root.
    Oh, and always pray.
    1 Cor 3:6

    • Ruthie C

      Probably more the close friend going through a hard time. I haven’t seen God’s Not Dead, but I’ve heard about the story line. Thanks!

  • Clare

    I think it’s important to listen carefully and with compassion. Try to bear the person’s burden. Once you’ve done that and expressed that you understand the situation and what they’re feeling, you’re in a position to minister. Remind them of God’s truths. But be careful not to trivialize the pain, but show them how much greater God is.
    A really great music video for the believer wrestling with pain is ‘Though You Slay me’ by Shane and Shane with John Piper. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyUPz6_TciY

    • Caleb Norman

      I love that song! Taken from Job, it’s one of Shane & Shane’s best.

    • My favorite Shane and Shane song!

    • Ruthie C

      Thanks!

  • tmselden

    I have always found that asking the person a question about what they said an bring about a good conversation. Often they are speaking irrationally, due to the hurt and they just spout off, but if you bring it back to them to account for what they said, it can often bring about more sound speech. It also depends on each situation, but never argue with them.

  • When dealing with people and their hurts their hearts carry it is HARD. Jesus was always full of compassion for those types (woman at the well, theif on the cross). His hope gives life to the broken. When situations arise, pray for wisdom to speak words of truth and healing.

  • cara d

    Always listen and don’t pass judgement and just gently say that he never promised it would be easy but he DID promise he’d be with us.

  • So, I have not quite been a situation like that before. But I have read a book that might be helpful…”Questioning Evangelism” by Randy Newman. It is about using questions for evangelism to start deep conversations. A couple chapters are about answering the question ‘why is there evil in the world?’ And other hard questions like that…. It is a great book. Hope it helps you as you respond to others. Great question!

    • Ruthie C

      Thanks, I’ll look it up!

  • Samuel Gonzalez

    Wow, that is a thought jogger. I will not say that I have answers for that situation because, like you said, it depends on the specifics of the circumstance. But really, my advice is to get to know God well, before this situation turns up on u. Seek His face, His character, so that you can know what he would do in just such a situation. Listen to His leading too. It’s important to know what the bible says, but far more so to know the author.
    “Seek and you shall find.” -Jesus

    This isn’t really bullet point “how to” for you but honestly I think this is most important.

  • Josh A

    OK, so I’ve read most everyone else’s responses, and I don’t think anyone has brought up this point yet…

    1 Corinthians 6:19
    Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

    If we are saved, we have the Holy Spirit in us.

    Also,

    1 Corinthians 12:3 “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

    So anyone who says and believes “Jesus is accursed” (and they don’t have to say exactly that) does not have the Holy Spirit in them and is not yet saved.

    As for what you should do, I haven’t been in this situation myself, so others probably have better things to say than I do.

    Hope this helps!

    -Josh

    • Ruthie C

      Wow, I never thought of it that way before. Thanks!

    • Al Ive

      That may be true for some, but what I think Ruthie may be asking for is “especially a Christian, who is truly disheartened”. Sometimes that Christian could be facing a “Job” type situation. It’s ok to question God about our circumstances, It’s even ok to express our anger TO God (Not AT Him?).
      “A bruised reed he will not break” Tells me that God hurts with the troubled and gently deals with them… we should too, gently show them God’s love, maybe by being that listening ear, & gently remind them to look to the blessings and God’s unchangables- like what Jesus did on the cross, the enemy can never take that away -eternity with our Saviour :)

      • Josh A

        Yeah I agree I was just trying to help her distinguish between Christians who are “truly disheartened” and an unsaved person. :-)

        • Al Ive

          Yeah, that’s cool, I get where you’re coming from, cause we do have to remember God knows their hearts :)

  • Ezra Walls

    This might sound like a no brainer, but honestly whether they are a believer or unbeliever, I believe sharing scriptures that talk about the attributes of God, and the attitude He has toward people should be a top priority (as well as trying to figure out where they are coming from in their pain). After all, if they have a wrong idea of God, they need to hear what He is really like. His words will always have a greater effect than ours. And His are the only words that are “Living and Powerful” (Heb. 4:12). I’m not saying to just open up the fire hose and tell them “no your wrong, God’s not like that, He’s like this and this and…”, but in a gentle and reassuring way, help to remove false ideas by replacing them with the truth. Of course, this is just one step, but it’s an important one. God Bless!

  • It’s so easy for us, humans, to think we’re responsible for, well, everything. Often showing God’s love to others who are hurting and making false theological statements is not about what we say but rather how we act. I would press into my own relationship with God and ask Him to love my friend through me if possible. I would dispense my words carefully and prayerfully. We live in a microwave society and waiting for people to figure things out is tough, but often God works slowly and His method tends to etch truths more deeply on hearts than the quick answers we might give.

  • Emma

    Hey Ruthie, I actually am going through a similar situation. My advice would be to talk to someone at your church. That’s what I do, and it really helps a lot. Then, I just pray that God would give me the right words to say to this person.
    Hope this helps!

  • I found this verse last night and it definitely applies to this topic:

    Isaiah 35:3-5

    Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

  • Jay

    Prayer is a must. It is also very important to keep in the Word.

    Side question: I am new here and am wondering how to submit content.
    Is it via e-mail? If so what e-mail should I use? If not explain.

    • Josh A

      Hey @disqus_v7zgvL3EXD:disqus welcome to the Rebelution! If you scroll all the way to the top, there should be a button on the top right that says “submit content.” It will walk you through the steps, but I know for sure that you’ll need to provide a name, email and stuff like that.

      Hope this helps!

      -Josh

      • Jay

        Thanks! I look forward to connecting with my fellow rebelutionaries.

    • Riley H.

      Hi @disqus_v7zgvL3EXD:disqus!! Welcome! :) Just curious, did you draw your profile pic? Is it a self portrait?

      • Jay

        @Riley Yes, I did draw my profile pic.
        No just some fictional character that was based off of a character from Frozen. My real name is not Jay ether, but I am a guy.
        I might add more to my description as I get a feel for the community.

        • Riley H.

          Oh that’s awesome. Another artist on the Reb!! :) My water buffalo isn’t a self portrait either…at least, I didn’t intend for it to be ;). I think you’ll really enjoy the community here, it’s great.

          • Cassie

            Haha, Riley. 😛

          • Haylie

            ha ha, that made me laugh @Rhanx97:disqus

        • Amanda

          Welcome, Jay! It’s great to have you here. :)

        • Jay

          @ Riley H. Thanks! Nice profile pic.

        • Yeah, pseudonyms are fine here. Thank you for making it obvious that you’re a guy!
          Wow. You’re quite the artist! There is no way I could draw something like that. I’ll settle for candy corn…or French toast.

          • Haylie

            uh oh… and so it begins… again :)
            #frenchtoastforever

          • 😀 Lol… #frenchtoastandpicklesforever

          • Haylie

            #aslongastheyarebreadandbutterpickles
            lol :)

          • #dillpicklesforlife 😀 Lol!

          • Jay

            I couldn’t draw well for the life of me until I stumbled upon some stuff about upside down drawing. I was like ‘There is no way drawing upside down would help I am bad enough at drawing right side up,’ but I tried it just for fun. It was a major improvement… if you do it enough it will help with drawing right side up too. It helps with proportions and all that good stuff. Try a black and white photo and turn the photo upside down then draw it. Worth a try if I do say so myself. 😀

          • Haylie

            Seriously?! I have to try this…

          • Josiah J.

            Yup, I’m serous. I even kept a portrait of myself before I started getting into the upside down stuff. Let’s just say it was ugly beyond all reason. After I tried the upside down thing, I was shocked at the improvement. I won’t guaranty that it will help you, but it sure helped me. Like I said “worth a try.” I might just have to post before and after drawings just for kicks. :)

          • Josiah J.

            This is when I just started the upside down thing and the better one is after I had been doing it awhile also I did it in pen changed the color a bit in gimp for it too. Can you guess who it is?:

          • Haylie

            Wow, those are pretty good! I think it looks like Albert Einstein, but if i’m wrong, sorry :) I gotta try this…

          • Josiah J.

            Yep it’s Albert Einstein.

          • Riley H.

            I love these drawings :). I’ve tried the upside down technique and it really does help! I see a big change especially when I’m drawing spherical shapes. What is your favorite medium?

          • Josiah J.

            Currently I like pencil the best for its simplicity, but the color in paintings is far more beautiful if done well. I tried painting once, I got really frustrated, because I really didn’t know what I was doing. I learned a bit more on how to do the strokes so I may have to try it again one of these times.

          • Riley H.

            That’s awesome! Graphite pencil is my favorite medium too, I like the feel of it, and yes I love it’s simplicity too. Have you ever tried charcoal? I love how it’s so easy to move around and flexible, so the subject just kind of emerges. I really enjoy painting, but yeah it’s a longer and more frustrating process (in my opinion). I’m taking lessons right now in oil painting so I feel like I’m getting more experience with paints.

    • Welcome!! :)

    • Haylie

      Hello! Welcome, Jay!

    • Welcome, Jay!

      • I had kinda the same question as @disqus_v7zgvL3EXD:disqus, how do you submit a DQ?

        • Hey Jay and DefyingDepravity! You can find instructions at this link:

          http://therebelution.com/submit-content/

          • Jay

            Oh wow! Brett said ‘Hey’ to me! No, seriously
            your book “Do Hard Things” is very inspirational.

            Yep, Josh A said as much. Thanks Brett.

          • You’re welcome. Welcome to the website. =)

    • Cassie

      Welcome!! P.S. Rad pic. :)

      • Jay

        Thank you.

    • Cassie

      Ooo, I just saw what ministries you ‘give high regard to.’ You should hit it off with Liam and Jake Doberenz (would someone who knows how tag them?).

    • Jay

      To Everyone: Thanks for making me feel welcome.

      • Well I’m late to the party….Welcome!!!

  • Joey

    Whatever you say, do it in a loving manner take the bible. I noticed that you didn’t say that they say god isn’t real so use the bible to show them the truth don’t use tour own knowledge. don’t try to be clever either be content with what is in the bible don’t make some stuff up.

    • Jay

      Agreed, do it in a loving manner using the Bible for examples and truth. Question for you Joey: if the person does not believe the Bible to be authoritative, how would you advise them then?

      • I am of the opinion that if you’re a dealing with a situation where the person is a non-believer it could be a great opportunity to witness to them, but it could also turn them off. Like you said Jay, (or whatever your name is), prayer is key. Seek God and He will give you the words to say. Just let the person know that you care about them and are there for them. The Bible is also an important tool in these situations, but if it is a non-believer you probably shouldn’t go spouting off Bible verses. I would really recommend using it for your own reference though. Any of you watch Mom’s Night Out? Well it’s sort of like what they said in Mom’s Night Out. Put on your oxygen before helping others. You can’t help someone else in a situation like this unless you have your own oxygen. The oxygen of God’s word and prayer. Stay in the Word, seek God’s will and you’ll be okay. =)

      • Joey

        Think of what a kind atheist would say and do. Im sorry but that’s all I can say. This person may say things about God that are untrue, butif they don’t look at the bible with respect they wont respect a Christian or God.

  • mcstache

    I was taught and I know from experience that when someone is going through trouble, they don’t need someone always telling them how to deal with it or examples of when you went through it. All they want is someone who will listen. Just like how animals let body heat escape through their ears etc., our anger is heat. There are two ways to get rid of the heat: through the mouth or through the fists. I personally believe the mouth is better (as I think will everyone else). Tell them God is still there, but otherwise I think all you can do is pray and be there for them.

    • Ruthie C

      Great comparison, thanks @mcstache!

    • Emma

      I totally agree with you @mcstache! I like how you use the comparison! It is a great one!

    • Seth Yoder

      Yes great point @disqus_5raHpmpa9T:disqus! I do think, though, that sometimes personal testimony can be a really powerful thing! People can (and will) argue with facts and opinions, but they can’t argue with what happened to you. :)

      • Seth Yoder

        Whoa that tag really got messed up. 😛

        • Mackenzie Sauerland

          That is really true, but also people just want someone to listen!! That is the key to really developing a relationship with someone!! I personally know that I would be more open to someone who has listened to me than someone tells me their story! No offense:) maybe that’s just me:)

          • Seth Yoder

            No you’re definitely right! Live your life for God and others, be a witness, show yourself friendly, and if necessary, use words! :)

          • Mackenzie Sauerland

            Thanks for the advice:) I prefer to listen anyways since I am not the best words:)

  • Mackenzie Sauerland

    Well first I would say that you need to understand that they are hurting and they are looking for someone to blame that hurt on. And usually most people find it VERY easy to blame God, because they have heard that God is a loving and protective father. Which he is those things, but sometimes people bring some of the stuff on themselves. So one of the things that you can do to help them is help them understand that you DO understand. And then show them that God is not the one to blame.

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