How to lovingly correct someone on the wrong path

Have you ever had to confront someone you love who was going down the wrong path, away from their Catholic Faith? Many of us don’t like to ruffle feathers and would be much more comfortable staying quiet, but we know that’s not what we are called to do. Although it’s a very difficult conversation to have, it is one that could save their soul.

“You always hear that we’re supposed to just share the Gospel and lead really by our lives, but sometimes the rubber has to hit the road and we have to start asking some good questions to maybe plant the seed for someone to make a change or to actually analyze what they’re doing and, ‘Hmm, maybe this isn’t right?’ It’s really hard not to come across as accusational,” said Becky Carter, writer and podcaster, in a segment on Morning Air®.

The Holy Spirit can help guide you through these difficult conversations. Carter knows this firsthand as her parents lovingly corrected her path. “I fell away from the Church for seventeen years. My father was in diaconate formation at that time and … my parents really had to be patient and pray—lots of prayer, lots of sacrifice. Waiting for the right time, planting seeds, saying things that ruffled our feathers, but eventually the grace—for me, the grace of the sacraments—and my husband’s great intellectual conversion brought us back, and obviously, with a lot of zeal!”

It’s important to take time to think and pray about how to talk to someone about an issue. “We should probably never correct in haste. Correcting someone right on the spot really opens ourselves up for responding out of fear … but we have to fear God more than we fear the rejection of a friend. To fear God is to want what is good for another, of course that’s the definition of charity, to really will the good of another over yourself. … You have to pray and discern to know when do I take that stand, how do I take that stand, what questions can I ask to help them on that path to coming home to the Truth and protection … of Mother Church?” said Carter.

Understanding their knowledge base and beliefs is a good place to start. “See where they are. We have a level of culpability … when I lost the Faith, I didn’t really know the Faith so how culpable—how much did I really know and what was I really denying? A lot of our family members are probably in that same boat as I was and we kind of have to figure out where they are. Meet them where their hearts are, encourage them where they’re lacking in faith. That’s really what the Lord is asking us to do; we really have to love on them.”

Listen to the full segment below:

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.