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How do I respect the wishes of my non-Christian parents while still following God’s will?


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(Letter)

My parents are not Christians. My mother not only disapproves of Christianity, but also of me having anything to do with church or my closest friends that are Christian.

I want to do what's best in my relationship with God. But I can't honor my parents then can I? And I pray for them daily, but will they go to heaven?

Plus, I find it difficult to stay strong when my mother tries to prove to me how wrong Christianity is. I don't want to argue with her. I love her, but I love God first, and I don't know how to treat her.

Please help me decide what to do and how to act!
—Angie

Family. Photo copyrighted.I sympathize with you Angie. I really do. Perhaps the most difficult things to do is live the Christian life at home when the rest of your family members are not Christians.

But keep in mind that, even though it is very difficult, Jesus told us it would happen. Look at Matthew 10:35,36 where Jesus said,

I have come so that a son will be against his father, a daughter will be against her mother, a daughter-in-law will be against her mother-in-law. A person's enemies will be members of his own family (NCV).

Those are tough words but Jesus wanted us to understand the Christian life will not always be easy.

And one reason it is difficult is that as Christians we are surrounded by unsaved people who are walking in darkness. That is why your mother is so upset with you. She is walking in darkness, yet you are a light to the world. Non-Christians, just like your mother, will always react to the light.

So, yes, you have a dilemma. You understand that Ephesians 6 commands you to obey, to honor your parents: They are your authority.

But as a Christian, you understand you have a higher authority than your parents. That authority is God. And you are to obey your parents unless they command you to do something that clearly disobeys God, such as stealing, lying or not worshipping God. When and if that happens, at that point you should choose to disobey your parents in order to obey God.

Angie, I want you to explain what we've talked about here with your parents. Don't do it in rebellion. Do it lovingly. Tell them you don't want to disobey them. But do tell them that some areas in your life are non-negotiable. These areas will include time to read the Bible, time to spend with your Christian friends and time to worship God at church. Ask your parents to respect your wishes in these areas.

I find it very touching, Angie, that you are praying for your parents. God hears your prayers, and I hope and pray with you, that your parents will give their lives to Jesus Christ. But you cannot make that decision for them. They must make that decision. If they do not, they will not go to heaven. God made that very clear in His word when he told us that "whoever does not believe [in Jesus] stands condemned already" (John 3:18).

And you are right in not wanting to argue with you mother about Christianity. Just love her. Show her the Christian life in your actions. Live the Christian life in front of her each day. That, more than anything you could ever say, can soften her heart.

Author: Dawson McAllister of Dawson McAllister Live!

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