How can I stay true to my faith when my family shuns it? I do not have the courage to evangelize them. But in a society where religion seems taboo in youth, how can I live each day for Christ and stay strong in faith even though I am mocked? And if my family are not Christian, will I be forced to leave them behind in my salvation, though I love them wholly?
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While I have seen no one has answered your question and I am not sure that I will, first I want to tell you how strong you are! I to had this similar problem growing up but I was weak. My family were the non practicing believers who did't talk about faith and left it up to us to decide for ourselves. At the time I thought this is the right way to raise someone in today's world. Now looking back I wish they were stronger in their faith and would of passed it on to me. I felt like it was "UNCOOL" and taboo to go out and look for God mostly because I was hanging around the wrong kind of people. I have now become in my adulthood much more confident with who I am and who God is, that it really does not matter what nonbelievers think of me or for that matter believers. Being a Christian is a struggle, trust me the early Christians had it worse off. You find as you continue to study and listen to God that following and praising him is the easy part but truly living a Christian life is hard so hard in fact that God had to give his only son because we can not do it on our own. I would try talking to your family about how you feel but also know that you may not be the one to show them the light. Life is short and as long as they are not telling you to do truly evil things I am sure they love you and love them, just be patient and pray for them. My sister did it for years for me! I hope that helps a little and stay strong and full of love for all.
Being the first in my family to come to Christ, I have lived through your experience. As an Asian, the concept of family pressure had taken a whole different magnitude. When I confessed to them that I am a believer, I came under an instant barrage of criticism, threats and abuses. I did not respond to any one of them but I only trust God and put myself into His hand. I did not make a single argument for Christ and I remembered 23 pairs of eyes looking at me with hurt (betrayal) and anguish (distrust). So I resorted to the only thing I could do, which is to pray for them and trust in our Lord. In 6 months I was baptised; in 9 months my brother came to the Lord; in 5 year every single one of them has came to the Lord and my parents were baptised on the 3rd Christmas from that fateful day. All glory belongs to the Lord. Just trust in Him to do the impossible and live as He wants you to. Everything else will fall in place according to His plans.
As a believer, you have a spiritual authority to claim and to see salvation come to your whole family. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." —Acts 16:31, NKJV This is more than just an experience that happened to one man and his family. Since it is written in the bible, it becomes a promise to all who are willing to receive it. Now, you start holding on to this promise, and continually bring it before God as long as you don't break faith (meaning just give up and say I don't care), salvation will come to your whole household. As far as evangelizing your family, the most important thing to keep in mind is the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will speak to your spirit about what to say and when as well as what to do. It may come as a thought, or as a feeling, but it will come. As far as how to honor your parents, or those in charge of you, let the Holy Spirit lead. He will give you the words to say and the timing to say them. There may be situations where you do need to stand up and say "That's not right" or "This hurts", but your job is not to condemn. You will make mistakes, but along the way, you will learn and you will grow. Hold on to the promise of salvation for your whole family and watch how God will move.
What Adam says is really good, but you sure are in a tough spot. You make it sound as if your family shuns you and ridicules you. First, don't EVER let this take you away from your faith. Just ignore any ridiculing. Love them. Do a lot of praying to God for help. Tell Him the circumstances, even though He knows. He will help you. Family is a tough issue. Yes, if they do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior they will be sent to Eternal Damnation. That's a hard thing to comprehend and accept. I have family that I truly do not know in their hearts what they feel. I pray for them all the time that they should be so blessed as I am that the Holy Spirit came over me. I actually felt it because it was such a drastic change in me. I wanted so earnestly to read God's Word from beginning to end, and I did it in 10 months. Of course I had my Pastor to ask question of and other resources. But I guess what I'm saying is to stay true to your faith. As long as you can live in your parent's house and no one is pushing you to drop your faith, try very softly to get them to feel as you do. But keep in mind that we can only plant the seed. The Holy Spirit takes over from there. We do not have the power to make someone believe in God. They have to decide this on their own with their free will. Your faith is the most precious thing in your life. DO NOT give it up or lose it for anyone, even if you won't see them in Eternal Life. You don't want to be condemned to Eternal Hell, do you? It's hard now, worrying about your loved ones and where they are going to end up. Pray for them. You can tell God exactly how you feel and tell Him anything. He will listen and I believe that if you discuss this with God, you are going to feel a whole lot better. Remember, God is above all; even our families. There is no person, place, or thing that comes before Him. By the way, you are not forced to leave anybody behind. This is the choice they make, not your choice. So don't be so hard on yourself. You can plant the seed and see what happens. You can pray for them. But whatever you do, stick to your guns about your faith. IT is the most important thing in your life. It is priceless. Be thankful you have it and keep praying for family. God can do anything. He changes minds of people we would never think of as being changed or saved. He loves all.
First off I want to commend you for standing for your faith. It is always difficult, but even more so when people you love have a different worldview. I can totally relate where you are coming from. I was brought up in an agnostic family and didn't come to the Lord until I was 23 and it took me another 17 years to truly lay down my life for Christ. No one in my family has formally come to Christ (I think my mom may have given her heart to God before she past, but I'm not sure). My brother and sister are still not believers, but we have a great relationship. I don't know how old you are, but when I came to Christ when I was 23 I was working, but I still lived with my parents for 4 years before I got married and moved out. Even before I gave my life to the Lord, when I was a senior in high school I would go to church and no one else in my family would go. However, they loved me and respected my decisions and I loved them and respected them. Even though my parents didn't know God their lives had a moral compass, so honoring them wasn't difficult. They never asked me to do anything immoral or illegal. When our worldviews differed, we agreed to disagree, but with respect, love and many times with a lot of laughter. This still happens to this day where my brother, sister and I all have varied worldviews where we agree on most things, disagree on others, but still love each other deeply. One of the greatest things you can do is walk uprightly before the Lord, so they can see your example. This is so critical. The world sees so many people with the name tag "Christian", but many times they never see an actual uncompromising walking out of what the followship of Christ really is. As Christ said in Mark 6:4 "Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family." It's been decades and I keep praying for my family to come to Christ, but it hasn't happened yet. However, I have seen slight movement towards at least spirituality with my brother and acknowledgement of a higher power from my sister. It is incumbent upon my wife and I to show who Christ really is by our lives to the best of our ability. This has been pivotal in my family not becoming cynical about Christianity because numerous times they have asked why Christians are hypocrites on this or deceitful about that. Our lives have given us entree into them asking and then we can show them what the bible actually says and we can talk about who Jesus really is and what Christians really should be doing and why we fall short. It has made for great conversation and has gotten my sister to read the bible on numerous occasions. It will not be easy, but I can tell you from experience that if your family loves each other it is more than doable through Christ who strengthens you and the benefit is that it sharpens you even more to God's sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) as you interact with the world.
It is wonderful that you stated your desire to, "honor your parents," This is the fourth commandment, and the first one with promise, that your days would be long on the earth. God honors His Word. The best thing that you could do is to continue to honor them with your respect, your obedient submission to their rules, and keeping their trust. Your behavior will be the best testimony of having God central in your life, and could be the very thing that will influence their belief. Lead by example. You sound like a wonderful young man. God bless you.
As a Christian, it is your responsibility to be a good example to others. 1 Peter 2:12 Mathew 5:16 Titus 2:8 1 Peter 3:16 Remember that all Christians are persecuted. People WILL mock you. 1 Peter 4:16 Matthew 5:11-12 Isaiah 51:7 Philippians 1:29 1 Peter 4:14 Congratulations for choosing to stand in the faith! I myself had an unbelieving, mocking family. Keep praying that they will see the light. I am very proud of you!
Hold on to the promise of salvation for your whole family and watch how God will move. Pray for loved ones “Father, I come believing that Your Word is true; I am claiming each and every member of my family for the kingdom of God. Lord, I ask that You forgive their sins and be merciful to them. Lord, keep Your hand over them and protect them from the enemy until they come to You. Father, ‘woo and draw’ them by Your Holy Spirit and convict them of their sins. Send them the right people to testify to them. Send the Word to them so that they will hear of Your love and grace. Now in Jesus Name I command to loose his hold on their minds, hearts, wills and emotions. You are a defeated foe in their lives and I claim each one of my family for the Lord. Jesus my Lord,I claim your promise in Acts 16:31 I trust You to deal with each of them in Your mercy, and believe that You will do a quick work in their lives. By faith I now believe they are in the family of God. Amen.”
I also was a Christian child in a home with unbelieving parents. I had been converted at school by a teacher at age 10. The best thing you can do firstly is be an exemplary child being respectful of your parents in a way which honours The Lord. I remember one day telling them that at Sunday School we had been taught to honour our parents and I asked them how I could honour them. Which parent doesn't love THAT message!. After that they were interested in finding out what all the "nonsense" was about and came for a visit to church. That was 30 years ago and now they are Christians who are far more radical than I am. When I was no longer attending church they were constantly reminding me that I'm the one who got them to go in the first place and they were worried that I'd backslidden! Trust God to bring them through; it's amazing how God honours the prayers we say for our families to come to The Lord. You are not in this alone. He is there and He will bring Salavarion to,your family.
In my opinion, every one who believes in Jesus Christ is saved and our God given Authority helps us remain in Christ through reading His word and believing in the Gospel; namely that "HE came to earth as man, suffered and died for all our sins, buried for 3 days and rose again on the third day, and alive for ever more." This when you believe, makes you a believer in Christ Jesus and the spirit of God dwells in you for ever. Every person must become a son/child of God. God has no grandchildren only sons! So we are answerable to HIM for our own souls, even parents cannot answer God for Us! You can remain a secret believer in your heart and pray fervently for your family members salvation, God has promised each of us to call on His name and in His time He will touch and heal every member of our household. So be strong, find a good mentor to help you understand the word of God or simply ask the Spirit of God that dwells in you to help you, remember the Holy Spirit is given to us as a Teacher, helper and Comforter. Be strong in your faith and stay blessed always!
This same thing happened to me when I was a teenager. My folks took my sister and me to church every Sunday. But when they got divorced, church attendance became less and less. In fact, we were going to liberal churches. But my Grandma Mor Mor, a Christian, and maybe the only Christian in my family, took my sister and me to a Billy Graham Crusade where I got saved. And yes, I too, then tried witnessing to my parents, but they did not listen to me, probably because they were older and "knew better." But I kept praying for my dad for 20 years, and then he got saved! Prayer works! It changes things! I moved far away from home to go to school, but the rest of my family said that my mom got saved, too.
I think Adam Kantner above did a fine job and I would concur. The Bible teaches us to honor our parents. It doesn't say only if they are believers. What does honoring your parents mean to you? I would suggest that it means that you conduct your life in such a way that YOU bring no shame upon them. To me it doesn't mean that you bow down and kiss their feet or to bestow praise upon them if the are living in sin, but I think it means that you have patience with them, encourage them to change and continue to live as Christ teaches us to live. Pray earnestly for them and that by your example you will affect them in a positive way. They may one day follow your lead. That's all anyone can do!
We are commanded to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12). In honoring them we are to show respect and reverence for them. Many times the root of disbelief is found in the childhood of the person. We should ask "what was the environment in which they were brought up?", "Did their parents and loved ones lead them down a path of righteousness?" Sadly many times the pleasures of the world pull people off of this path. God resides in our heart in the form of the Holy Spirit to correct us when we stray. The problem of being mocked for your faith is nothing new. Leaders of the ancient days were mocked and punished for doing this. Following Christ was like a slap in the face to the Pharaoh of the land. But disciples and followers were given the courage and strength to do God's will. The most important thing your parents need is your love and prayers. Prayer is POWERFUL! I almost died in a car wreck on June 4th, 2006. My car hydroplaned & crashed into a large oak tree. God wrapped His hands of protection around me that day. Hallelujah. I survived a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I was in rehab at different facilities from June 2006 to May 2008. God has brought about a great healing on me. I bet you wouldn't guess, based on what I've written thus far, that I have a TBI. :-) I also advise you to reach out to spiritual leaders. Talk with a pastor or go to a spiritual group online. The leadership & encouragement they provide will likely give you the courage you need to guide your parents to salvation. Don't try to push them to do what is right. Show them how greatly God blesses those who are obedient. This is ALWAYS true. God blesses obedience. For example look at the life of Joseph in the Bible. God spoke to Joseph through a dream (Genesis 37:6-7 and 9). After the Lord spoke to him he announced it to his family. After Joseph was sold by his brothers to Midianite traders, he was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave to Potiphar, a high-ranking official in the Pharaoh’s government. In spite of the hardships in Joseph's life he was always faithful and obedient to The Lord's instructions. God blessed his actions. He became a governor in Egypt! (Genesis 41:37-56) The best thing you can do is live your life according to the guidelines given to you in The Bible and leave everything else in God's hands trusting that He will work everything out for those called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28) May God bless you and lead you.
Is there possibly a Biblical church in your town that has small group evening Bible studies and/or youth group you might be able to join? It is much easier to make Christian friends and find support and fellowship by joining a small groups than just attending worship on Sunday morning (which Sunday mornings might be difficult anyway?) The Lord can give you wisdom (James 1:5). If there is nothing local, maybe there is a SAFE chat room online for Christian youth? PLEASE be careful and never give out personal information such as your home address. But maybe there is a place for you to get support. Again, the Lord can give you wisdom. I am praying for you! It is a hard place to be.
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