How can I get my mother to turn away from her sin?
Your knowledge and answers to my questions have helped me so much. I can't thank you enough, but I have another one to ask. My mother has been married and divorced five times, and I know most of them are not because of adultery. She is currently with a man who is still legally married to another woman but plans on marrying my mom soon he says. I know they are living in sin, but what I want to know is what must my mom do for her sins to be truly forgiven. She tells me that she prays for forgiveness every night before bed and she attends a denominational church sometimes, but I feel like this may not be enough, or am I wrong? To be forgiven don't you have to willingly turn away from sin? Her very first husband she married at age 15, they divorced and then many years later. He killed himself, so she can't go back to him. I'm so worried she is going to go to hell. I need to know what to tell her and what to point to in the Bible to prove it because she says she believes the whole Bible. so I must prove to her somehow that she will not make it to heaven the way she is living right now.
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
Regardless of the past, right now your mother is committing adultery. She is having sex with a married man. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). She is fooling herself to think that she can continue sinning and somehow be forgiven by asking for forgiveness frequently. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). When Simon sinned, he was told "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you" (Acts 8:22). Thus, you are correct, until there is a complete turning away from sin, there is no forgiveness.
What I usually find is that people like your mother call themselves Christians, but they never really were converted to Christianity. Often they follow after the teachings of some denomination which doesn't teach the full truth of the Gospel. The sins in their lives are a symptom of a deeper problem of not really becoming a Christian. For more on what is needed to be a Christian see: What Must I Do to Be Saved? and What Saves a Person?
As you suspect, just acknowledging Jesus as Lord is not enough. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23). Christianity has to be lived not just mentioned once in a while.
I know she said she would listen to the Bible and you ought to take her at her word, but realize that you have a hard battle. She sees you as her son, so she remembers being more knowledgeable about things than you. Many parents don't want to be corrected by their own children, even if they are right. Also, she is older than you and that can lead to the false idea that her experiences make her more knowledgeable. Then there is the hard fact that when it comes to our own family we try to make exceptions for them. So do your best, but be prepared that she might not listen to you.
But even more important is what you do with your own life. I hope your mom gives up her sins, but regardless of her choice, you have to go on and follow Christ whether it is with her or against her. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26-27). What it means that on a scale of who comes first Christ has to come out so far ahead that no one else is in the running. "So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life" (Luke 18:29-30).
Thank you. Yes, it will be very hard to tell her. I feel so sorry for her because she has had a tough life and all she wants is to be happy with the man she loves. So what should she do to be forgiven? Leave this man and stay single until death? Or what?
Leaving the current man is obvious. He is married to someone else. Since he is committing adultery, I doubt he has the right to marry someone else. I don't know enough about your mother's past to say whether according to the Scriptures she has the right to marry someone else. In regards to her first husband, she does because he has died.
But really, the cause of this mess is that she is chasing after a feeling of happiness and never finding it. She thinks that if she is with the right person, then she will be happy. But usually, happiness is what you choose to be. You can be happy regardless of who you are with or what circumstances you find yourself in. True, in some environments it is easier to be happy, but always happiness is a personal choice.
You are so right. I know that most of the divorces she has had are because of abuse, or they just had differences.