We all have family members who are hard to love and be around. You may be one of them 🙂
But it can get really hard when they could care less about Jesus, God, or religion and aren’t afraid to show it. You know what I mean? It’s that one family member that you’ve had multiple conversations with about God, but it goes nowhere. It can get frustrating and feel like an endless cycle.
So, what should you do? What should you say? How should you treat them in the future? Here are a couple of suggestions that may help balance things out:
1. Don’t Try to Make Them Moralists
Ephesians 2:3-5 – All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. …God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…
Scripture is very clear that everyone is born with a sinful nature and there is nothing anyone can do about it. This means that in order for there to be any authentic change in our lives, it requires the Spirit of God to do a work. When Christians encourage non-Christians to try to change their behavior and obey God, it is like asking a dog to become a cat… it can’t be done! At best, you will get a short-term moralist and no lasting, true conversion.
If we are truly going to love our non-Christian family members, we need to point them to Jesus who can convert their heart rather than trying to convert their behavior.
2. Treat Them With Dignity
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
It is important to recognize that every human being has been created as an image bearer of God, reflecting His attributes (e.g. creativity, love, intimacy, etc.). This holds true regardless of race, color, nationality or religious beliefs. This is what unites us all as a part of the human family. This is especially true when interacting with non-Christian family members because you are now part of two families, yours and the human race.
Recognizing this truth will help you from playing favorites, discriminating, or acting unloving toward others. So remember, we are all in this thing called “humanity” together. It is important to treat everyone with dignity and respect, especially those in your family because they have value and are created in God’s image.
3. Keep Them Focused on Jesus… Not Christianity
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Christianity is all about Jesus and God demonstrating His love for you and me by sending His son to die for our sins in order to save us from hell! (see my blog post, Hell No) When we talk with family members about the Lord, the conversation can become very personal and man-centered. The discussion can easily morph into church talk, church comparison, church attendance, hypocritical leaders, etc. If we aren’t careful, Christianity can actually become a distraction away from Jesus. This type of discussion can also reduce Jesus to an organization or individual and miss the whole point of God’s mercy and grace!
The simple truth is we are all messed up and that is why we need Jesus! So let’s not focus on the mess, but rather on the one who can fix the mess… Jesus! Hang in there and keep loving those non-Christian family members. God will use your efforts for His glory!
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