How do I deal with the fear that my dad may never change?


Hello Bro. Hamilton,

I just need some clarification about a situation.

My parents are not members of the church of Christ, but I am. We went off and on when I was growing up but stopped because my dad didn't take us anymore. However, we went back, and I was baptized when I was a teenager. My dad always went to the church of Christ and knows the truth, but he got baptized as a teenager only because his friends did it. It was the thing to do back in the day according to my former minister's mother. My mom was raised Baptist but stopped going to the Baptist church years ago.

To make a long story short, my dad knows the truth and knows he needs to be baptized. However, he doesn't know when. He has always been a sinner which is why we didn't stay in the church because he's weak and doesn't really care about God. I think he carries a lot of guilt because when he was in combat in the military, he had to kill people. Sadly, he was unfaithful to my mom throughout their marriage. He drinks alcohol every day.

They go to a different congregation now. I'm away from home so I'm not with them now. The minister and his wife have tried to help them by inviting them over to the house in order to build a relationship with them. It's great because they actually care about my parents and pray that they can get them baptized.

Anyway, he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer (it runs in the family). The thing that bothers me is that this may not be a turning point for him to get baptized. I feel he may go through this cancer and survive it without giving his life to God. I believe he has his conscience seared with a hot iron. I don't believe it will do much to him. Many people experience things like this and worse but it doesn't always lead them closer to God. I'm a bit afraid, but I do pray that God will use this cancer to get my dad's attention. He's an alcoholic and has been for years. I just wish he would change, but I never mention it to him. I only pray for him and my mom. Another thing is that I know that they want to get baptized together. I was happy when my dad told me since it was on their minds. They want to get baptized on the same day.

My parents are older. I feel he is stuck in his ways and it will be hard for him to change.

I really need to know how to get over the fear that my dad may never change or is it too early to tell?

I would appreciate your response whenever you get a chance.


When you get a chance, ask your dad a few simple questions:

  • Where do you think you will spend eternity if you soon die?
  • Do you think how you lived your life was worth it?
  • How do you want to be remembered?

It is frustrating when you know what is best for someone to do, but they choose otherwise. You have to remember that God gives us free choice. Even God doesn't make us do right, even though that is what He desires (II Peter 3:9). While your dad lives, there is hope that he might change, so you never give up on a person his death. But you also don't take responsibility for the choices another person makes. "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). It is sad to know someone is making the wrong choices, but it isn't something to fear. Rather trust that God is giving your father plenty of opportunities to change his mind and in this, God has been very generous.


Thanks, Brother Hamilton. I didn't expect you to reply so quickly.

I will ask my dad those questions. However, he will sense that I'm talking about baptism and may feel I'm pushing him to do it (like I did years ago). I don't want him to shut me out or change the subject once I ask these questions.


Oh, he's likely to change the topic. But the purpose is not to discuss these things with you. That has already been done. The goal is to plant the seeds of things he needs to think about, likely on his bed at night. It is he who needs to make up his mind, which means he needs to ponder these things when there is no pressure on him.


Thanks. I understand.

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