My family has been raised as firm Roman Catholics, though I could not say that they belong to those very devout ones who attend Mass everyday. It was my decision to serve God wholly that brought hostility to my family, and not really my change of faith.
Religion is a serious commitment or choice to many families. As much as possible, many families prefer (mostly the parents) to have a one religion or faith for the entire family.
I myself as a converted Born-Again (Evangelical and Full Gospel) Christian from Roman Catholicism, I could say that conversion will almost always arouse dispute in the family. I mean ranging from small disputes to big family divisions in some few but true cases. When I was converted to Christianity, my family almost didn’t mind it. But when I decided to serve God fully, forsaking opportunities for good jobs and education, that started the fire in our home.
Family quarrels are inevitable when you are called by God. It will sometimes destroy peace.
Matthew 10:34-36 (KJV) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
However, it is necessary to pursue a good relationship with God, at all costs. God calls men to full service very rarely, but He does. It is likely more possible that God is calling a person into a deep relationship with Him (first), rather than to a full service. In any case, when God pulls you out from your old religion into a living relationship with Him, you must yield to Him.
Matthew 10:37-39 (KJV) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
What can I do then to lessen the hatred and opposition from your family members?
Though opposition is almost always inevitable, there are certain ways where we can minimize it. After all, we love our family and we would like them to be saved also, and not to turn out as our lifelong enemies.
- Pray, pray, and pray. When God tells you to do faith conversion, pray first then act. Always say in your prayers that this will let your family feel the love of God.
- Show that you are positively being changed by God. If you spend all your time in the Church and do not help in the household chores and do not speak anymore with your family, you are not helping your situation. You only worsen it by destroying your testimony in your home.
- Do them favors that come from your heart. They must feel it, that you love them more now than ever. Serve them. Of course don’t do them favors that will compromise your new found faith
- When you speak to them about your faith, whether you defend it or promote it, always do so using the hamburger message. That means the two breads contains positive content while the ham contains the hard message. The positive content may contain positive feedback about your family. That way, you somewhat makes the hard message more swallow-able without compromising it.
Personally, it took me ten years of praying and serving my family to make them accept my faith and my full service to God as a pastor. But now, Praise God, they are my first line of supporters!
Proverbs 27:5 (KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Matthew 5:13-16 (KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.