My Family Hates me for my New Faith: How to Lessen the Hatred

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.

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Christians seem to not receive God’s unconditional love after Salvation

I have been asked in Quora if Christians are not receiving God’s unconditional love. For him, it just seems so.

Well, from the Bible attested by personal experiences, here’s what I could say.

First, straight from the Bible, Christians or the children of God are receivers of God’s unconditional love. This is evident from Ephesians 1, Romans 5:8, and many others.

However, to say that they seem to not receive that is purely based on observable experience that is misinterpreted or not correctly understood according to the Scriptures.

  1. We misinterpret the nature of God’s Love. God’s love includes giving pain in many forms. It could be from a hard lesson, a test of faith, rebuke or discipline. If you are loved dearly by God, expect dearly that time to time God will intentionally hurt you, but not to destroy you (like what Satan does) but to build you up, mold your character, and bring Glory to His Name.
  2. We do not understand God’s long-term purposes. We humans are basically narrow-minded and short-sighted creations. We do not see as God sees. When Jesus was about to undergo pain and was in pain, many of His followers could not understand it. The Father hurting His Son? In Acts it is said that it was the Father’s will to hurt Him and to kill Him (not of Satan’s). But in the end, it was necessary to exalt both the Father and the Son (Philippians 2:5–10).

There is a time for everything

There is a time for everything. Right now, you are maybe busy about a task, that you need to accomplish a little later. Or maybe you have just finished something, and you are beginning something new. Whatever it is that you are doing, there is something that you would like to finish and something that is yet to be done.

The same holds true to your life. No matter how old you are now, even if you realize it or not, you are in a middle of something; you are in a road or in a journey, and in that journey you are accomplishing something and there are some things else that you need to do afterwards. If you like to see it this way, life is a big journey consisting of many several journeys that are composed of interwoven and overlapping tasks – that is basically what life is.

These tasks, no matter how big or small, have the power to influence the progress your life is taking. Important undone tasks will surely result to some loops, cycles, and setbacks, hindering progress, while finishing tasks at their most appropriate times will certainly result to a progressive life. So two things become inevitably important: making sure of what is the most important task for the moment, and making sure you do it efficiently as soon as possible. If you can secure these two everyday, your life will surely be without a doubt be productive and successful.

So may I ask you, dear reader, what is your current task? And after doing that, what is your next one to accomplish? Would you mind if I tell you that some small tasks, no matter how small they seem, could give you a big progress not only in this life but also in the next life to come?

That seemingly small task that is actually quite big revolves around the wonderful man called Jesus of Nazareth. About two thousand years ago, He literally walked on the Earth to try to show us the true purpose of life, and that is a life that embraces God and His Son the Christ. The reliability and authenticity of His message could never be doubted or put to dust, for millions of people in all of human history had experienced a new dynamic level of fulfillment, joy, contentment, and power the moment they embraced this wonderful man called Jesus of Nazareth. This man called Jesus, whose historicity had been proven even by His most fierce skeptics, has gained the faith and trust of innumerable people.

And no wonder, for this Jesus was not only man but also God. Only a true living God could exert such a lasting, timeless, and omnipotent influence among its believers, beyond any measure of illusion and doubt. To embrace Him is truly to make a certain progress in this life, that will grant the lover of God the opportunity and power to forsake all that is negative in his/her life, and only experience those that are positive and new. Moreover, the lover of God has been granted the most fulfilling achievement of all – and that is joy in the next life to come.

There is a time for everything. A time to dream and a time to work; a time to rest and a time to eat; a time to think and a time to act; and a time to lay down and a time to rise up; a time to be less and a time to be more; a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to reminisce and a time to aspire; and a time to ponder the most beneficial decision that you can have now.

Now is the time to take seriously the present condition of your life, and see the real status of the progress of your life. Are you really progressing or only got stuck in a never-ending loop or cycle? My own life is a testimony that nothing really great happens until I act to embrace Jesus. Only Jesus could move your life forward. Try to embrace Him today and see the eternal benefits of this seemingly small task.

Drawing Others to Christ Means Drawing Yourself to God

Personal evangelism, or the act of sharing Jesus and the Gospel has always been a source of joy in my life, and a pool from which challenges provide training for the ministry.

Last October 12, Friday, my friend and I went to the city plaza to do some personal evangelism. Both of us reminisced our individual experiences of doing evangelism years before – and felt that we should have done this ministry regularly as a lifestyle. We believe it should be a lifestyle for every Christian.

It was hard at first. We were hesitant and nervous to approach strangers, in fact, for the first hour we had not approach anyone. We felt really awkward as we tried to approach highschool students but failed, and noticed that these students somehow felt that we had something for them – and yet we were not courageous enough.

Good thing is that God led us to first two people whom we can share Christ – one of them formerly attends a Christian Church, yet salvation was still unclear to her. That was our first couple, and the first time I ever tried to use the so-called ‘Shotgun Evangelism’, by frankly asking, ‘If you die now, are you sure you’re going to heaven?’

God allowed us also to share the Gospel to a policeman, and from him we understand that many people are hesitant or afraid to believe in Christ because of personal vices and some other sins – either they are not ready to forsake them or afraid they will fail in forsaking them. So we led him to a prayer not to accept Christ, but to let God take a hold of his life little by little. And, we reminded him that not all of his life he could have a chance to believe in Christ – tomorrow maybe too late, our life is not in our hands.

College students. Most are Catholics, and one belongs to Iglesia ni Cristo. My friend shared the Gospel for too long, around 30 minutes, thus losing their interest. One student believed in reincarnation, so we had to do some clear explanation.

We tried to share also to a foreigner, but he cut our conversation.

The greatest test of character for us was when a female prostitute challenged us to share the Bible to them. It was a test of integrity and respect on our part. Yes we shared the Gospel, and we exchanged mutual respect, they respected us and the Gospel, and we respected them as beings who are sinful yet not beyond the mercy and forgiveness of our Loving God.

That night was very fulfilling for us. We have realised some things, learnings that led us to the conclusion that if we dare to bring others to Christ, we ourselves shall draw near to God first.

  1. Evangelism requires the heart of the Heavenly Father. Unless we have the kind of heart that cares for the lost, evangelism would only be a burden, a Pharisaic Religiosity, a dead act of legalism. A task that follows the act of God in saving sinners should certainly include a heart that cares and values pitiful souls.
  2. Evangelism requires wisdom. The heart matters, but not at the expense of having wisdom – that is, adequate wisdom of the Word in areas of salvation and some general knowledge of the world. Evangelism brings us to different sorts of people, coming from different backgrounds, beliefs, and orientation. Surely along the way some would ask hard questions regarding the Bible and our faith – though we must avoid any debate, nonetheless we should be able to answer the important ones that could bring them to Christ. And also some general knowledge, for how could we relate and face questions regarding science, politics, psychology, myths, and the like, if all that we know is Scripture? By knowing other things as well, then we will have the capacity to use the Bible as to how it relates to and answers these other knowledge.
  3. Evangelism requires proper etiquette. It requires that we act not as professionals, but individuals that could be respected, and, of course, that we respect others also.
  4. Evangelism requires boldness and courage. It is never easy to approach strangers, much more to ask for their valuable time listening to a ‘common’ message.
  5. Again, evangelism requires wisdom, now in a different sense. There are places where evangelism could be a good ground for the devil to trap us into temptations, we should know how to avoid them and stand firm on our conviction as Christians who live out the message we share..
  6. And, above all, fruitful and true evangelism depends on the Power and Grace of God. This truth should bring the Christian to his knees in prayer and humble dependence.

Please pray with us, we really like to do this evangelism weekly.