What do you do when you live in a household of family members who do not believe or honor God? You bring up a conversation about God moving in your life and you want to share that joy you have in Jesus with your family, but it suddenly turns into a tense and heated discussion or argument that you never intended to have in the first place.
Rude comments are thrown at you, “How you can serve God or believe in Him if you cannot even see Him?” No matter how you try to explain the reason why you believe, your family has already made up their minds about God and there is nothing you can say or do to change them. But the ONLY thing you can do for your family is to pray that the Holy Spirit would draw their hearts to want to know God, to know Jesus for themselves.
You may have someone in your family who is an unbeliever and he or she has a lot of anger towards God and questions, “Why do good people have to suffer in life but bad people get away scot-free.” You point your family member to the bible, the word of God, for the answers to his or her questions. Your family member may reject the bible as just a book that was written by men and has no significance. But God used those men, through His Holy Spirit, to write the very story that He already created since before we even existed. The bible is God's love letter to us, His children, so that we can know who we are in Christ and where we belong.
If you have family members who are unbelievers, what you can do is pray for them that God would open up their hearts and for you to be that example for Christ. Let them see Jesus in you. Let them see the power of God working in you, and His love flowing in you. It is definitely not easy living with a family of unbelievers, but you are that light that they need to see shining in the midst of their darkness. Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV):
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
We have been called as Christians, as believers to be a light in this world. In our schools, in our jobs, and most importantly in our homes, we are to shine our lights for Jesus Christ even in the most heartbreaking and intense situations that happen in our lives. The world is watching us to see if we are who we say we are. If we are truly living our lives for Jesus, everything we do, we represent Christ. Yes, we will fall and make mistakes, but as long as we humble ourselves, get back up, and allow God to bring us back on track, we realize that those mistakes we made have no power over us unless we let them.
One of the things I have learned, personally, is not to get into arguments or debates with an unbeliever, especially if that person is a family member. It just gets worse and adds more fuel to the fire. I can present my faith to him or her and plant a seed, but the rest is in God's hands. One of the most important things to remember is to never be pushy or forceful with anyone when talking about the Lord, but present your faith with love and a gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:15, NIV). "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
Understand that if your family members do not accept you for your love for Jesus and ridicule you because of your faith, remember that even Jesus went through that in His own hometown, among His own family. Read Matthew 13:53-58. Jesus says in verse 57 in Matthew chapter 13, And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” Because of their unbelief, Jesus was not able to do many miracles in His hometown.
Jesus knows and sees the struggle you are facing in your family because of your faith. He went through that Himself. Understand that while you love your family and want them to know Jesus, sometimes you may need to distance yourself from your family if you are able to and connect with a community, a family of believers at your local church, bible study group, or wherever God leads you to for fellowship, growth, encouragement, mentorship, and accountability. While you are praying for your family, you may need prayer for yourself to stay strong and trust God in this time of your life. As believers, we need one another to help us to get through times when we feel alone and depressed. We need to lift each other up and point each other back to Jesus.
Remember to stay strong and keep praying for your family and be that example of Christ that they need to see. Whether you are the youngest in your family or the oldest, God is raising you up to be that person in your family who leads them to Jesus by the way you live your life for Him.
Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Jessica Daniel started writing at the tender age of 13. She wrote stories, articles, and anything that was on her heart to share. Writing was always Jessica's way of expressing herself, especially during tough times at home. Over the years, Jessica began to realize that writing was one of the gifts that God blessed her with to encourage and impact others for Jesus Christ. Jessica is currently a student at Sacramento State University majoring in Communication Studies. She is about to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in December of 2016. In her free time, Jessica enjoys writing, singing, spending time with friends and family, and she enjoys attending bible study on Friday nights at her local church.