When should you hand a person over to Satan?
When you are a Bible believing Christian and someone you are trying to help is not, you then begin to understand where the terms “Bible thumping” and “Bible beating” come from. If only we could take the literal book of the Bible and conk people on the head to help them understand, life would be so much easier . . . right? Unfortunately, these methods do nothing but embitter those who stand in opposition to the Bible.
So what can be done? I was meeting with a young man who had been a member of our church, grew up in a Baptist household, married a Christian girl, but now in his early twenties was beginning to questions his Christian faith. He wanted to meet with me about the inerrancy, authority, and perfections of Scripture, doubting more and more with every secular book he read that the Bible really was an inspired book.
We talked for hours on multiple occasions. I answered his questions, explained the facts, pointed him to good Christian scholars, but over the months his position against God only strengthened.
Finally, he stated he was now fully an atheist. He confided in me that throughout his journey towards atheism, he had still been praying in general out of habit like he had done from childhood, he had still been attending church, he was still reading his Bible, and he was willing to believe the Bible if he could be convinced through scientific facts of its real authority. But none of this worked. He was still very hostile to God and the Bible. He was now completely content in his sins, completely certain that Christians were wrong and Atheist are right. At our last meeting he asked, “So what should I do now?”
When I gave him my counsel, he looked a bit surprised. He probably thought I was going to attempt another argument, another Christian book that refutes his beliefs, or tell him to pray harder. Instead I said, “At this point, you should go live your atheistic life.”
When Should You Hand a Person Over to Satan: Letting Them Go Is Sometimes the Best Thing for Them
Why on earth would I say something like that? We had opened the word together, we had prayed, I had tried to draw him to the truth through my kindness, but still he was hostile to the truth and disapproving of the holy God pictured in Scripture. When this happens, the only thing left to do is pray, “Lord, please crush this man in your kindness.” Notice I did not say “with your kindness” but “please crush this man in your kindness.”
Like the father did with his prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), sometimes the only option left is to let the rebel go, and hopefully his self-inflicting, sinful lifestyle will bring him to his knees. When we have done all that we can to draw someone to the Lord and they still resist, our only hope is to let them walk out the door to go live out what they believe to be true so hopefully one day they will see how it does not work.
When Should You Hand a Person Over to Satan: Let Them Go Because Consequences Work
When we live apart from God’s ways, the Bible explains, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8). The last option for those who rebel against God’s written word is to see the truth of the written word by reaping the consequences of sin that the Bible promises will come on those who rebel. If this does not convince them of the Scriptures truth, then nothing else will.
The reason the father let the prodigal son go live his sinful life was because the father knew the son would eventually have to endure the consequences to his poor choices. God acts the same towards his children. He lovingly warns us, he tries to stop us, but if we still refuse him, he lets us reap what we sow. He does this because he knows consequences work. If no amount of tenderness or wisdom will wake a rebel up, the next best option is painful consequences.
When Should You Hand a Person Over to Satan: Cast Them Out To Satan for Their Good When They Refuse God
So we can love unrepentant, rebellious people with all our might, beat them over the head with our hard cover study Bibles, but when someone repeatedly resists our efforts to help them see and obey God’s truth, the only loving thing left to do for them is to do what Paul instructs, “you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
Paul told the church to cast this unrepentant, sexually immoral person out to Satan with the hope that God would use Satan to crush and humble the man, turning him back to Christ.
So when should you hand a person over to Satan? When it is the most loving thing to do for them. When we are confronted with someone who doesn’t want to receive help, we must pray, “Lord, please ruin him in your love. Save him by making him suffer. Cause him to repent by letting him reap what he is sowing in sin. Lord, please, crush him in your kindness and love.”