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How Should I Respond to Someone Deconstructing Their Faith?

The postmodernist approach to faith deconstruction means wiping out the foundations of your faith to replace them with popular cultural truths. Our world heavily emphasizes putting our faith in tangible things we can experience with our senses. It must not be real if we cannot see, taste, touch, feel, or hear something. There is no threat to examining the truth of what you believe. However, the deconstructionists think they can interpret the real meaning of Scripture using their finite, fleshly understanding. They deny the existence of absolute truth and experience internal confusion, conflict, and doubt. Watching a friend or loved one deconstruct and fall away from the faith is heartbreaking. Navigating conversations with them and knowing how to love them best through this season can be challenging.

 

Common Reasons for Faith Deconstruction

There are several reasons someone might start deconstructing their faith. Often, they grew up in a home that was not a safe place to ask questions. When they encountered a crisis of faith or injury, like a pastor betraying their trust or losing a loved one, they abandoned their beliefs. They may have questioned God’s character as they read accounts of war, judgment, and severe warnings. If they watched a loved one walk through hardship, they may wonder why a good God would allow such things to happen. The most important place to start with a friend who is deconstructing is to understand why they doubt the inherency of the Bible. 

 

5 Ways to Love Someone Who Is Deconstructing 

Someone going through faith deconstruction is likely in mental, physical, or spiritual pain. Their pain has caused extreme doubt, leading to shame and isolation. Your job is to love them, talk to them, listen to understand them and share the truth with them. They may be looking for people who are genuine and who they can trust.

 

– Pray Fervently

Intercede for them when they come to mind and petition God to open their eyes, heart, and mind to the truth. Bring other trusted friends into the battle to fight alongside you. If you need accountability, create a group chat with fellow prayer warriors and send a message whenever you pray for your friend. James 5:16 reminds us that “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” and Matthew 18:20 promises, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Your prayers have power.

 

– Remind Them They Are Loved

We need to be needed, and we need to be known, and if we don’t receive that from the people around us, we will search until we find it. It is easy for us to love like-minded people, but it is harder to love people who think and act differently than us. Someone who is deconstructing needs you to demonstrate Jesus’ love to them in tangible ways. A check-in text, phone call, or coffee meeting will remind them they are not alone and encourage them to avoid isolation.

 

– Be An Intentional Listener

Listen as they process their hurt, doubt, and confusion. The most important principle to keep in mind here is to listen to listen, not to speak. As Christians, we often get stuck in a “fix it” mindset where we think it is our responsibility to fix other people’s problems. We must demonstrate a desire to understand what they are experiencing before we earn the freedom to speak about their struggles.

 

– Ask Questions

Ask intentional questions like, “What brought you to that conclusion?” or “What makes you think that?” Let them wrestle through their answers and sit in silence. Your friend may not have an answer right away. Give them time to walk away, process your questions, and formulate their response. You may want to tell them what you think they should do, but only they can make the necessary changes. 

 

– Live Out Your Faith

Don’t be ashamed of what you believe or allow the opinion of others to stop you from living it out! God’s Word says we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). We shouldn’t hide our faith because we fear hurting someone’s feelings or pushing them away. Let them see you walking out your faith unashamedly, even as you struggle with doubts. Point them to the truth and remind them that God’s Word holds the answers to their questions. Always use prayer and the Holy Spirit’s discernment to determine when to listen and speak.

Women grieving faith deconstruction.

Encouragement For Believers

Currently, a community of people is waiting to celebrate and welcome Christians who deconstruct or walk away from their faith. As a person is deconstructing, keep reaching out to them. They are likely feeling isolated and ashamed. We know those are two tactics Satan uses to make believers doubt the inherency of the Bible and their identity in Christ. As you determine the best way to love someone deconstructing, hold to the truth of these verses.  

  • “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”–Hebrews 3:12-13  

When we see a brother or sister in Christ stumble, it is our job to speak truth to them so the deceitfulness of sin does not harden their hearts. 

 

  • “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”–John 6:63-64a

When we pray and speak Scripture over others, we call on God’s supernatural power to bring life and clarity to what has become distorted.

 

  • “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Hebrews 11:1

As you pray for someone deconstructing, pray in faith and believe in God’s ability to work a miracle in their heart and mind. 

 

  • “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”–1 Corinthians 3:11 

Jesus’ resurrection is central to our faith. Any other foundation we try to build our life on will not be able to withstand the storms of this life. As a person deconstructs the foundations of their faith, remind them that Jesus is the firmest foundation they will ever build their life on.  

 

Takeaway

You are not a failure if your friend leaves their faith and rejects God entirely. You are not an ineffective witness if your friend does not return to church after one spirit-filled conversation. Only God can change their heart and open their mind to the truth. Their rejection of Christ is not a reflection of how good of a believer you are. Pray, listen, live boldly, and let God do the heart work.