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. -Luke 14:26-27 (NKJV)
So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. -Romans 10:17 (NLT)
If you were born and raised in a family of believers, count your blessings, because being spiritually on the same page makes all the difference between unity and discord when our time on this earth draws near. All the difference.
Want to hear a true story that’s stranger than fiction?
I was raised by Buddhist parents who were a lot like some Christians who only attend church on holidays or other special events. So, my siblings and I were never spiritually grounded. That led to many, many years of confusion and lack of direction…lots of wandering.
As readers of this blog well know, God called me to Him in my 40th year (a number associated with testing in the bible), and everything changed for me. The wool was pulled from my eyes. I was unplugged from the Matrix. I could now see like other believers: above and beyond the surface of this world.
As the only believer in my immediate family, I knew that could mean friction when it came time for my parents’ passing. Aside from funeral ceremonies and arrangements, there would be another hot point (pun intended): witnessing to my parents on their deathbeds in the hopes that they may truly accept Jesus and not end up in hell.
I have an aunt and uncle who approached my dying grandmother to follow them in the sinner’s prayer. But my grandmother told them that she could not do it, or her daughter–this agent’s mother–would never speak to her again. I also learned that my mother would speak to my grandmother after my aunt and uncle left, and tell her that it was too late for her to accept Jesus. She told her, “once a Buddhist, always a Buddhist.”
And now, I will face her as I witness to my father.
This is spiritual civil warfare: family against family.
On the advice of another agent, I have prayed that my father may be spoken to by the Lord in dreams or visions. In addition, because the choice is my father’s alone to make, I first will approach him discreetly with the choice. Honestly, what is there to lose if he accepts? He has only to gain eternal life! I’m prepared for serious heat should my mother discover this, so please pray that this stealth mission will succeed.
As the oldest son, once my father passes, it is my duty to conduct and take part in the Buddhist funeral ceremony…which includes ancestor worship. I’m prepared to take additional heat for politely refusing the role, which directly contradicts God’s first commandment. I’m also prepared to face a lifetime of disownment from my mother, should she choose to do it. (Remember, I come from a family where grudges have been held for decades…past a person’s death!)
Why? Because true believers follow Christ so loyally and resolutely that, in comparison, their own family relationships are like hate. We are to drop everything–everything–to bear our crosses and follow Christ. No matter what we bear, it’s nothing compared to the sins of the world He bore to save us.
As a true believer, you love your family, but you love Jesus even above them. And if you love them, then there is no worldly discomfort that should discourage you from making Him known before them.
So, whether you are surrounded by a family of believers or are the black sheep, know that you are His sheep, and He is your shepherd. With Him in your life, even if every single person turns on you, you shall not be wanting for anything. Christ fulfills your every need, all the way to the murkiest depths of your aching heart.