A Question I Was Asked:

How Should Christians Handle Aggressively Unbelieving Family Members?

Here is the full e mail:

"What does Scripture tell Christians to do about unbelieving family members, i.e., brothers, sisters, adult children, etc. who refuse to believe, refuse to allow discussion about Christ, who curse his name, and admit hatred for Him? Do we try to accept this to keep the "peace" and keep silent, or should we ultimately have to severe relationships with them? I have this situation, and it is causing a great deal of pain.
Thank you."

My Reply:

Although, in general, the answer is to keep the peace, there are limits. When you are in the company of unbelieving family members, don't bring up the subject of Christ at all since they will undoubtedly know where you stand already, especially in view of recent hostility. Don't forget that when Jesus noted undue hostility in the Pharisees questions to Him, He refused to answer at all on their own terms. Christians should learn from this. If the precious things of the gospel are being thrown back in your face, don't invite a rejection which some of those people will one day probably have to answer for! You cannot entirely severe relationships with your own children, but you have every right to make it plain that abusive or vicious comments about our Lord are unwelcome within your home. But the first thing I would say to you here is: don't pursue discussions about your beliefs in the current hostile climate.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew 7:6).

It is just possible that when your unbelieving family members note that you are no longer prepared to discuss Christianity with them at all (that is, while there is a hostile atmosphere), things could improve. But while people's minds are closed and while there is open anger and hostility you should withdraw from this. Don't initiate questions or discussions on this issue at all in the current climate. Wait for questions to come to you.
Robin A. Brace, December 23rd, 2008.