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When children reject God, it can be a terrible burden to Christian parents. How does the Bible instruct us react to such sensitive issues?
If my daughter is telling me that I can’t mention Jesus to my grandson (he is 3 going on 4yrs old in Apr), should I disown her? I had mentioned to him yesterday while waiting in the car with him (while she went into grocery store to get milk) that Jesus loves him and if he has ever has a problem just ask Jesus to help him. Well, today when he woke up he told [his mom] that [I] told him about Jesus. I got an email from her saying she is absolutely censoring me from talking about Jesus to him! I brought her up to know Jesus but she had told me she is a extreme leftist who believes in abortion and homosexuality. This is really killing me on what to do as I believe there is a connection from God for my grandson. I am very knowledgeable about the Scriptures but as far as this goes, I need advice scripturally what to do. Thanks,
[Disclaimer: The following feedback involves sensitive issues related to family matters. In such matters, we urge all believers to seek out their local church leadership for biblical counsel. This article is not designed to serve as professional counsel for the one who contacted us or anyone else facing similar circumstances. Instead, we hope to explain biblical principles to you that may lead to the restoration of the damaged relationships described above. We serve the perfect Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) who is able to provide hope and restoration in the most difficult situations.]
We are sorry to hear about your struggles with your daughter and her resistance against allowing her son to hear about Jesus Christ.
We believe you should focus on talking to your daughter about your faith, rather than your grandson. Of course, your daughter receiving Jesus Christ as her Savior would be the best possible outcome. We would not disown her. It is very heartbreaking for your grandson to grow up in a non-Christian home, but the best remedy is to help your daughter to see the Light—Jesus Christ. We encourage you to continue to pray for your daughter and grandson.
Jesus spoke about the strained relationships between believers and unbelievers within families due to the gospel message (Matthew 10:34–39). So although we expect to see these difficult situations, we need to make sure we respond appropriately. Consider what Paul told Timothy about his own upbringing, and think about the impact you can have as a mother and grandmother. He greatly desired to see Timothy and wrote that he was filled with joy “
when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). Also, remember the attitude of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. Jesus said, “
But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Be careful not to focus too much on telling your daughter that homosexuality or abortion is wrong because she is convinced they are okay. This doesn’t mean you should abandon using Scripture. Not at all! But there is a more tactful approach that you can use. Christians need to understand the times in which we live. Our society has convinced millions that they must accept all sorts of aberrant views in the name of “tolerance,” but they absolutely must not “tolerate” Christianity. Many caught up in this movement become extremely hostile toward the Christian faith, believing it to be the source of many of society’s problems.
This sounds incredible to Christians who strive to live like Christ and follow His commands to love God, love your neighbors, and even love your enemies—yet we need to realize what secularists and “leftists” think of us. Often they are presented with the stereotype of a Christian who is a legalistic, greedy, right-wing, hateful, hypocritical fanatic who just wants to control other people (of course, a brief historical tour of the last century will demonstrate that leftist nations [read: Marxist] have been marked by power-hungry despots who suppress their people while citizens in nations founded on some sort of Christian ideal enjoy the greatest freedom). Sadly, too many self-proclaimed Christians provide the basis for this stereotype by following their own traditions, politics, or well-being rather than putting Christ and His Word first.
One of the best things you can do is to ask about her own beliefs and why she is so opposed to any discussion of Jesus Christ. Don’t argue with her at this point because you are seeking to understand where she is coming from. This will help you figure out how to best reach out to your daughter when the opportunity arises.
When you think you have a good understanding of her views, look for an opportunity to discuss them further. Instead of debating issues like homosexuality and abortion, focus on her starting point (e.g., atheism, agnosticism, etc.) and help her to see the inconsistencies in her own worldview. For example, if she has rejected God and believes evolution is the best explanation for our existence, then what basis does she have for laws of logic, morality, or uniformity of nature? In fact, if evolution were true, what basis does she have for any rational thought? We would simply be the product of accidental chemical reactions and our thoughts would also be the result of these random processes. This would mean she did not decide to be a “leftist”; she simply is one because she has to be, just like you are a Christian because the chemicals in your brain determined you would be. If that is the case, then what point is there in trying to convince another person they are wrong? If evolution were true, then there would be no ultimate basis for morality, and if this were so, then why would it be “wrong” for you to talk about Jesus?
Keep in mind that your daughter has seen you in your most vulnerable moments and knows many of your faults and weaknesses. She may think you are just being a hypocrite when you speak of godly living. Make sure you are transparent with her and let her know that even though Christians often fail to live godly lives, we serve Jesus Christ, who was, is, and always will be perfect.
You must always be ready to show her that your starting point, God’s Word, is the truth. You can claim that your starting point is the truth because your faith is based on the testimony of the One who was there—God. Furthermore, Christians do not have a blind faith but rather one we can rationally defend. Christianity offers the most rational, logical explanation for world, while naturalism, atheism, agnosticism, etc. are irrational (see the resources The Ultimate Proof of Creation, What to Tell a Friend Who Believes in Evolution, or Atheism: An Irrational Worldview for a good place to start).
Start out gently and do not automatically say she is wrong. Just casually talk about worldviews and attempt to show the inconsistencies. Show her through your actions how much you love her. This may turn out to be a marathon rather than a 100 meter dash, so even though there is an urgency to reach out to your daughter and grandson, you need to be ready for what may be a long and difficult journey.
Try to talk about the things she is willing to discuss without provoking her to anger. You may have to begin with seemingly minor discussions, but the more you can help her to see the consistency of Scripture versus worldly reasoning, it may get her to think and open up more. Of course, tell her and show her that you really care about her and want the best for her. Ephesians 4:15 applies well in this situation: “
But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” Try to tell her the truth in love, and show that you really do love her.
Also, show love for your grandson, and be the best example you can be. Pray earnestly for wisdom about how you should share (or not share) Jesus with your grandson at this point. It is important to balance respect for your daughter’s authority as a mother with the commission to share the gospel with your grandson. When your daughter sees that you respect her decision, it will be a demonstration of your love for her and may open another door to share the truth. Always be a godly example, even if you may not be given the opportunities to explain your faith as often as you would like. As your grandson grows up, he may see Christ in you and desire to know more.
Jeremy Ham and Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S.