When a Loved One Doesn’t Share Your Faith
- Monday, March 07, 2011
If you have been a believer for very long, there is a good chance you are concerned about the eternal well being of someone you love, be it a wayward child, a close friend, a parent or even a spouse. There’s also a good chance you have had trouble finding the words to tell them about the hope you have in Jesus Christ.
Why is it so much easier to share this hope that you have with a stranger than with someone in your own family?
Maybe you fear being ostracized by this person in your life. Even if we have a sense of security in our familial relationships, there can sometimes be a fear of tension. Maybe you are a parent and you fear your grown children will not come visit as much if you talk about your faith. Or, maybe you feel your loved one will stop confiding in you because they feel uncomfortable with biblical solutions you offer to their problems.
Or, perhaps you became a Christian later in life and they remember the way you used to live. If you were an adult when you gave your life to Christ, it is very hard to explain your faith to your family—especially when they saw you live a long time apart from Him and His influence on your life. How do they know it’s real? You might be frustrated because you can’t seem to convince them it’s not “just a phase.”
So, how do we get over hurdles like these? Let’s find out how Scripture tells us to handle this. It’s not only about what we need to say or do. It’s about who we need to be.
19th century Scottish pastor Robert Murray McCheyne is often quoted as saying, “My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.” In this context, he was probably speaking of his congregation. But this can apply to us as we live alongside those who we want to see come to Christ.
When we are living inwardly holy lives, we are bound to see an outward manifestation of the effect it has on those we love.
1 Peter 1:15-16 says:
But, like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy for I am holy.”
The more we become like Christ through the study of God’s Word and through the Christ-driven choices we make in our behavior, the sweeter our relationship with Him will be. Our lives will not be perfect, but they will be peaceful and abundant.
But, the pursuit of personal holiness not only benefits us – it has a positive impact on those around us. When we are holy, we are “set apart.” We are called to be different, and our loved ones will question why a Savior is needed if there isn’t a notable difference in the way we live from the rest of the world.
Another crucial point to consider is the holiness of our speech, not just our actions. Many of us struggle with our faith. We have questions, doubts, and sometimes anger, when it comes to God. Part of our journey with Christ is examination, and He can certainly handle it.
There will be times when something seemingly unfair or nonsensical happens. In Psalm 73, the psalmist has witnessed the prosperity of the wicked. In verse 15, he comes to the realization that if he vocalized his frustration with God on this matter, he would “have betrayed the children of the children of thy generations.” Let this be a lesson on our speech—our complaints, our gossiping and our slander of others. Be careful of what you say. Don’t let your emotions get the upper hand when you feel the need to “vent” in front of those you love—particularly if they don’t know Christ.
People are watching us. Especially those who live with us or who are close to us. We can say what we want, but at the end of the day, they are watching whether our words are consistent with the way we live. Look at what 1 Peter 3:1-2 says about this:
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