Discussing my Christian beliefs with family members that don’t share your view or understanding of doctrine or faith
Question: My mother-in-law is a follower of the Wicca belief and does not believe Jesus is the son of God. My husband turned his life over to Christ 12 years ago. He struggles with understanding the truth of discrepancies between our different beliefs and her’s, not realizing that she is constantly trying to break us apart through manipulation and witchcraft. I don’t know how to discuss anything with him that doesn’t lead to him defending her. Any advice will be helpful.
Answer/Response: sorry if I headed the question wrong but this seemed a general title that was appropriate. This is a very difficult situation and I know exactly the kind of thing you are struggling with having several family members that are unbelievers and very closed when it comes to discussion – often leading to heated and over emotional arguments that are not rooted in reality but emotional attachments. The problem is people love their families and their sins more than what is right and wrong and extricating them from these lifestyles and the thought of losing a relative is too much. I would not seek to disprove wiccan ideas to your husband but simply state biblical truths and concentrate on loving these people even more – probably not easy! Your life is the book that people are reading to see what is right and wrong and they soon put 2 and 2 together when they only see the opposite of love coming from people of other faiths. Second, concentrate on reading the word yourself and to him, and when you encounter people like your mother in law – don’t rely on arguments of clever apologetics or doctrines – you’ll be going round in circles forver as people that don’t love God love to endlessly debate to they never have to come to the truth. Just quote the loving scriptures from The Bible. Why?.. well I have come to realise after many years of trying to win people with my own knowledge and understanding that that The Word – God’s written testimony and word really is sharper than any two edged sword just as The Bible says, and can work miracles in people’s hearts. The other thing is, that by reading the word it is not coming from you – it is coming from 6000 years of collective wisdom written by godly people whereas when it comes from our own knowledge, there is often a lot of pride between family members that stops the word from even being heard. So just quote directly from it in love – not to score points but to soften hearts. Believe me, when people hear the word they may give the impression that there has been no effect but it pierces the heart, and it may be some time later that the fruit is seen. I pray God opens the eyes of your family members and you have strength to stay calm and love them despite these issues.
John 13:34-35 ESV / 6
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 Peter 3:15-16 ESV / 44
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Colossians 2:1-23 ESV / 18
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Acts 19:9 ESV / 8
But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.