Counsel for Christians in Crisis: I Want to Win My Unsaved Parents

It is a happy home most of the time. Dad is a doctor who shows compassion for his family and his patients. Mom works part time as a legal secretary, but is usually home when we’re around. I am 13 years old and live a comfortable life in a large home with two older siblings.

A good friend at school invited me to a gym night for teens. After hearing the gospel a number of times, I was convicted of my sin and, while reading from Romans 5:6 in my bedroom, I trusted Christ for salvation. When I went downstairs and shared the exciting news about my newfound faith, there was only silence and awkwardness. It didn’t last long, though. My father was the first to state his disapproval, and then my mother began to tell me about all the atrocities committed in the name of religion. From that point on, there seemed to be a tension which never disappeared. Now what do I do?”

This scenario may mirror the stress you’ve experienced in your own home when you trusted Christ as your Savior. While life in Christ is the best possible life, it is not easy, and may be especially difficult for young people whose parents are not saved.

The Power of a Godly Life

Behavior and speech are two powerful ways to communicate truth and they often go hand in hand. When sharing the gospel is not welcomed at home, in that case especially, the life of the believer will speak what the mouth cannot. As your parents see your life changing from the inside out, they will observe and discover the power of the gospel. The display of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, ESV) will be a compelling witness to the beauty of your Lord. You may be the salt which makes them thirsty for your Savior.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

The Christian life was never intended to be lived by human energy and determination. It stems from the life of God within—the power of the Holy Spirit, Who indwells all believers. This power is present, not only to bring about character changes in you, but also to supply the necessary wisdom in difficult situations. By reading God’s Word and submitting to the truth He reveals to you, God’s power will transform your life. God has given your parents front-row seats to watch Him work in you and guide you in your Christian life. That same Holy Spirit can use what they see, and work in your parents’ lives also. Who knows – you may be the link God will eventually use to lead them to salvation.

The Power of Proper Boundaries

Your parents were given to you by God and you need to respect their authority. In the Bible, God commands, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” (Eph 6:1-2, ESV). To obey means to comply or follow the instructions given.

The ultimate purpose of our lives is to love and obey God, so, when you obey your parents, you are obeying God. By being prompt and thorough in your obedience to them, you honor your Lord. However, if your parents ask you to commit sin or push you in the direction of sinful choices, then you must respectfully let them know that you cannot disobey God. When the apostle Peter experienced this conflict with the council in Jerusalem, he explained, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, KJV). Parents may cut you off from other believers and deny you the privilege of moving forward for God in baptism or assembly fellowship, but there will be a time when you are out of their home and free to make your own choices. If they will not allow you to bring a Bible into their home, you do need to respect this, and you can read and memorize Scripture while you are away from home. Regardless of your parents’ behavior, God still expects you to honor them. To honor people means to esteem them, to treat them with high respect. God holds you to this standard and, whatever God asks of you, He will always give you the strength to obey His command to obey your parents, no matter how difficult it is.

The Power of Prayer

God has allowed these difficulties for a reason. Instead of hindering you, they actually may help you become the person God intends you to be. As you seek Him, He works in your life to transform you more and more into the image of His Son. Never underestimate the value of prayer. When you feel alone and misunderstood, you can always find a refuge in Him. When your heart is breaking, He will comfort and strengthen you with His love. No matter how desperate your situation may become, He will always be able to meet your need and take care of you. He wants you to cast “all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV). Prayer is essential in order for you to develop a more intimate relationship with God. It brings you into line with His purposes and plans. As you wait on Him in prayer, He will reveal Himself to you in ways which will satisfy your heart and bring you peace. Even when you do not receive what you’ve prayed for, you can be assured, even a negative answer is for your blessing and God’s glory. Remember that God knows about your situation and it will not last forever. As you remain faithful to Him, you will bring Him much glory. The time will come when you will be independent and you will have the freedom to live for God as you desire. Until then, hang in there.