What do you do with family members (especially siblings) that are outspoken non-believers?
It is such a struggle to not be able to share our love for the Lord with our siblings. For each Believer there is a deep desire is to be able to be sisters and brothers in Christ with our siblings. However, as much as we want this to be our reality, the salvation of our loved ones is in God’s hands and not ours. So how can we go on in our relationship with the freedom to express ourselves without being offensive, and still striving to love our siblings even when we don’t share our faith?
The answer lies in both trusting God to do His work in them His way AND in seeking to love even when the other person isn’t very lovable toward us or our Lord. From personal experience, I have found that in the initial years following the our salvation experience, it is very hard to hold back. We want to tell everyone about Jesus and why they should love Him, too. Our lives also radically change on the outside–as we begin to live according to Scripture–causing many of our family and friends to be frustrated with the new person emerging forth.
There is tension.
Tremendous tension with family members is unavoidable, initially. However, we can lessen that tension if we remember that it is the Holy Spirit that will convict the hearts of those we love, not our impressive arguments or defensive response. But if we can trust God to do His part, we can take a more gentle, loving approach with our siblings. Instead of trying to convert with words, we can sway them to love Jesus with your actions of kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, and genuine love. By becoming the “go-to-gal” — full of dependability and humility — we honor God by living His way and love our family members in the process.
We also don’t need to be perfect around them, even though our behavior should be different than it was before. We don’t want to cause them to stumble by saying “Well, I can’t do ____ anymore!” and then do it anyways! Yet we also live in grace, which means we might get angry, slip on a word, stumble in an action. We’re not perfect! Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make us perfect; He died because we are not, in order to make a way for us to be with the Father eternally. In other words, it is okay to admit our mistakes and in that context share the hope and peace that comes from the Lord in freeing us from ever needing to be perfect.
In other words, you don’t need to ignore your differences but rather live out your differences in Christ by sharing His likeness in behavior, not words. Preach the Gospel by your actions of love, instead of accidental words of condemnation. Become so salty that your siblings will thirst for the living water as they spend time with you…over the months and years ahead. As you trust God to redeem and save, lay your family at His feet trusting Him with your whole heart.
Take hold of these Scriptures and live them out while you walk this journey with the Lord. You are not alone!
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Salt and Light
13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…