A couple of weeks ago, I heard the story of a young woman who came to receive Christ as her Savior in our church. Her family was steeped in a long line of sinful patterns. Her parents were not believers in Jesus and were living a very destructive lifestyle. When the young woman’s parents heard that she had gone to church, they kicked her out of the house. She literally became homeless because of her new faith in the Lord.
After I heard her story, I was reminded of the words in Ezekiel, chapter 18. Verses 14-18 tell us about breaking the cycle of familial sin. It is a difficult thing for anyone to go against the “flow” of their families’ long held lifestyle. Going against familial patterns of behavior and belief often make those who change objects of persecution and rejection.
Many people cannot handle the rejection by their family that comes as a result of giving their life to Jesus as Lord. Some return to the family pattern just to keep the peace or to retain relationships with the family. I wish that people who choose Jesus didn’t have to make a choice between family and friends and Christ but this is often the case. As they say, “wishing doesn’t make it so.”
The Bible tells us Luke 14:26-27:
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.
Verse 33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
There are people in this world today who will literally have to choose Jesus or death. Others will have to choose between certain relationships and Jesus. If you are one of those, I will be praying for you. Here’s a couple of things to remember:
1. Don’t give in to fear.
If you are demanded to make a choice between anything and Jesus, you must choose Jesus. This life is not all that we will experience. It is a small part of a vast scope of existence called “eternity.” We cannot forsake eternity for temporal comfort in this life. If we do, we will deeply regret the choice.
2. Lean hard on the body of Christ.
If you have had to give up relationships for Jesus, you need the love of the family of God! There are “sisters” and “brothers” and “fathers” and “mothers” in the body waiting to love you. You were not meant to walk this all alone. Get connected to the church of Jesus Christ and allow believers to love you and accompany you as you walk with the Lord.
3. Those persecuting you and rejecting you need your faith.
Family members may persecute and even reject you because of your faith in Jesus. But, when you give your life to Christ your family members become an object of divine interest to the Lord because of your relationship with Him. Through your prayers, the Lord will convict and draw your hardened loved ones to Himself. It may be your faith that is the catalyst to the salvation of your family. I often say, “someone has to plow the field first.” Go out and plow the field for yourself AND your family. Be courageous enough and loving enough to change the destiny of your family. Your family may hate you know, but they need your righteous stance just as a drowning man needs a lifeline. Say this to yourself when things get tough, “Don’t cut the rope!”
If you are experiencing rejection by family or friends because of your faith, you are part of a long line of courageous believers in Christ who have done the same thing. Trust God. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Just think: someday, when the history of your family is told; the teller of the story will point to your name and say, “this is the point at which the family changed.”
God bless you!!! I honor you for your commitment to the One who gave it all for you!