How to help a friend with unbelieving parents?

14 Jan

How to help a friend with unbelieving parents?

A friend of mine goes to our public school.  She is a believer, but she cannot follow her beliefs because her dad doesn’t believe.  I gave her a Bible one time and she gave it back because her dad said to.  The only time we can talk is at school.  I don’t know how to help her now because she asked to be saved and I don’t know exactly how that works….  I want to help but I can’t because I don’t want to disobey her father by taking her to church.  What should I do?

So, how can you “help” your friend?  First of all, love and support her.  She’s in a tough spot for sure and needs someone to love on her.  BUT, you can encourage her to know that God can, does, and will take situations like these and accomplish something amazing.

God knows what she’s going through and hasn’t left her, He’s right there beside her.  He knows that because sin has destroyed what He gave us, there are going to be conflicts, on occasion, between the authorities that are in place.  Therefore, He gave us direction on how to deal with these types of challenges. As we read the Scripture we see that the Lord has set up several authorities in our lives. We’re commanded to obey: The laws of the land, our bosses, and our parents.

Let’s consider each of these authorities for a second.  It’s actually pretty easy!

First, the laws of the land!  Long gone are the days that we could say that we’re a “Christian” nation.  Laws are passed on a regular basis that conflict with what the Word of God tells us to do.   We’ve seen an explosion of new laws, especially over the last 8 years, in the area of sexuality and life for sure!

What about our bosses?  The scandals at the conservative news agency Fox News would be a glaring example that there are bosses who will exert pressure on their employees to act in a way that clearly falls outside the parameters of what the Lord expects from us.  I know, I’ve had bosses like that personally.

And let’s be honest, yes, unfortunately there are parents that sometimes ask their children to do something that isn’t in accord with what the Lord would want them to do.  This is one such case.

There’s one thing each of those authorities have in common.  The human factor!  Here’s the bottom line, when man’s involved, things can and will get messed up.  In order to deal effectively with these types of issues we need God’s wisdom.

Let’s start with the cases where the laws of the land and our bosses conflict with God’s Word.  Consider the real world example we have in Acts 4:19-20.  Here we see officials in Jerusalem telling two of the Apostle that they couldn’t teach in the name of Jesus.  Talk about a law that definitely runs contrary to what God has commanded for us to do!  It doesn’t get any plainer than that.

By the way, do you not think this is taking place in our world today?  I can tell you as a former Federal employee with over 20 years’ service that it continues to happen today.  I was personally threatened with being fired if I “proselytized.” And not just once, but on multiple occasions.

So, to figure out how we should deal with this type of conflict, let’s look to the two disciples that dealt with it, Peter and John.   When confronted, they replied,

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

Now let’s be honest.  To take that kind of a stand requires that we have a rock solid faith.  As you continue to read in Acts you see that they were threatened even further, but they didn’t stop preaching!

Here’s the rub, God tells us to obey the laws of the land.  Peter and John didn’t, so they were wrong, right?  No, they were right because they obeyed God’s laws, which override man’s laws whenever the two conflict.  We must always remember that when man’s laws run counter to God’s laws, we have to stand with what God said, and not what man said!  This world is not our home, it is temporary, heaven and our time with Christ is for all eternity!

Do we have that kind of faith?  Are we willing to take a stand when the world tells us to stop doing something God has clearly instructed us to do?  Time will tell!

Let’s now apply this to children obeying parents.  although the authority of parents is probably even greater than that of the state. In Ephesians 6:1 we read:

Children, obey your parents . . .”

That was easy, children just need to obey their parents.  If the parent tells the child that they’re not to go to church or read the Bible, the case is closed!  Ahhhh, some of you may be saying though, “Not so fast Carl.  You didn’t read the rest of the verse.”  And that’s because it says:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”

So, children are only to obey their parents when it doesn’t conflict with God’s Word, right?  This “rule” about not going to church run’s contrary to what God would want for them so they have the freedom to disobey.  Now it’s my turn to say, “Not so fast!”

I would absolutely agree with this interpretation if a parent were to command their child to steal, sell themselves, kill etc.  It would absolutely be right for a child to disobey their parent in those types of circumstances. Children are to obey their parents in the Lord–in those things that are not direct disobedience to the Lord.

There are ungodly parents, no doubt, that do look out for the welfare of their children.  We can’t argue that.  In those cases the children are to be obedient in all things, that are right, that are in accord with the Lord’s commandments.

Now when the parent commands the child to do something that would cause them to disobey God, well that’s when the child has a right and I would say a responsibility to disobey their parent.

We unfortunately live in a world where there are some parents who are terribly hurtful and abusive toward their children. In the case of abuse, I firmly believe that these parents have forfeited their right to be parents.  In such cases, it’s imperative that others come to the aid of the children. If real abuse exists, children in such cases should be removed from the parents and brought up by those who will love them. A teenager in an abusive situation should seek help from official sources.

However, not allowing their children to read the Bible, go to church or to be baptized is, in my opinion, not “abuse”.  As a friend, you can explain to her exactly what “Salvation” is!  Salvation is not dependent on her ability to attend church or read the Bible.  I’ve included a little “ABC’s” below to help you explain that to your friend.  If she confesses Christ, she is saved!  If her father doesn’t allow her to go to church, she should obey him.  That has nothing to do with her salvation.  God knows her desires.

Now, if her life is totally transformed in this manner, it will be very apparent to her father.  It’s very possible that by her changed life, her testimony and the love that should be exuding from her that her father may change his mind and allow her to go to church. Especially when he see’s how important it is to her.

The prayer would be that it would also lead to his heart being softened and the Holy Spirit changing his life so that they go to church as a family!

As I said, the answer is really quite easy . . . to say, but not so easy to live.  Always hang on to the fact that we must obey God before man!  In cases where abuse and direct disobedience to God’s Word isn’t involved remember, HE KNOWS OUR HEART!

Hope this helps, Stay bold!

Carl K.

ABCs of Salvation


A – Admit that you’re a sinner:

  •   Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  •   Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
  •   I John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
  •   Acts 3:19 – “Repent, then turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

B – Believe that Jesus is God and He came to save you from your sins.

  •   Roman’s 5:8 – but God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  •   Acts 4:12 – Salvation is found in no else for there is other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved”
  •   John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish,
    but have eternal life.”
  •   I Peter 3:18 – For Christ died for sins once in for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but    made alive by the Spirit.”
  •   John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

C – Confess your sins to Jesus and repent.  Then submit yourself to Him to be your Lord and Savior.

  •   Roman’s 10:9, 10 – That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be    saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
  •   Romans 10:13 – “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  •   Mathew 16:24 – “then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

 

Brad Holland

Reasons for Hope, Inc (rforh) is an apologetics ministry with a mission to equip believers to fulfill the command found in 1 Peter 3:15. To fulfill our mission, Reasons for Hope offers a ministry team of speakers and writers, a website, store and social media with educational and motivational biblical resources in print, electronic and audio/video.