3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family

There aren’t many situations more difficult for Christians to face than those involving choosing God over family. Consider the following:

  • A loved one claims to be a believer but wants to marry an unbeliever. So you’re unable to support the relationship.
  • Family members invite your child to stay with them, but you know they’ll be a negative influence on them. So you have to decline.
  • A relative is living in habitual sin and you have to confront the person.

There are examples in the Old Testament of individuals having to choose God over family members. For example, Moses called for the execution of the individuals responsible for the Golden Calf. This meant some Israelites had to kill their own relatives. Exodus 32:27 says:

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’”

King Asa was one of the greatest reformers in the Old Testament. When he purged the idolatry from the land, he had to punish even his own grandmother. 1 Kings 15:13 records:

[Asa] removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah.

In both of these situations it would’ve been very easy for those involved to choose loved ones over God.

Jesus is the premier teacher and example when it comes to choosing God over family

Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37; see also Luke 14:26). He taught the closest relationships in His life weren’t with His physical family, but His spiritual family. Matthew 12:46-50 records:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

I tend to think God is repetitive when He wants to make sure we don’t miss something. This account occurs in each synoptic gospel; it’s also in Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21. Jesus minimized His earthly relationships to emphasize His spiritual relationships were with those who obey His Father.

Similarly, when Jesus spoke to Mary, there’s no record of Him calling her “Mother.” He called her “Woman”:

  • John 2:4—And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
  • John 19:26—When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

There were two relationships between Jesus and Mary:

  • The Mother and Son earthly, physical relationship
  • The Sinner and Savior heavenly, spiritual relationship

It’s clear which relationship Jesus allowed to trump the other. When situations arise and we have to choose between God or family members, there’s really no choice. Our greatest love and commitment has to be to Christ. Despite the difficulty associated with choosing God over family, we can be encouraged by these blessings:

First, choosing God over family provides a teaching opportunity with our children.

We can share the above verses with our children and explain: “Our greatest love and loyalty has to be reserved for the Lord. That’s why we made this decision.” This allows our children to see our faithfulness to Christ. They might never forget what we’ve done. Hopefully they’ll be encouraged to make the same decision if they face a similar situation.

Second, choosing God over family provides an opportunity to discuss our faith.

We might be able to discuss our faith with the affected (and possibly offended) family members. We can explain, “I’m very sorry that this has hurt you, but as Christians we believe…” Then explain the motivation behind the decision. At best they’ll see where we’re coming from and possibly have a change of heart. At worst they’ll be angry, but at least they’ll remember we had the courage to obey God when it was unpopular.

Third, choosing God over family allows us to demonstrate our love for God.

Finally, and most importantly, being able to choose God over family allows us to demonstrate to God that we love Him. It’s easy to say we love God, but choosing Him over family allows us to demonstrate that truth. It’s painful, but it’s also a great privilege.

Discuss:

  • Have you ever had to choose God over family? If so, would you be willing to share about it below?
  • What other situations involve having to choose God over family?
  • Can you think of examples in Scripture of people who chose God over family? Chose family over God?

60 thoughts on “3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family

  1. Hi Scott,

    I want to thank you so much for this information and sharing these scriptures! God has used this to encourage me greatly. My wife and I have been struggling with family issues as of late (more specifically my side). I wanted to send a request to ask for prayer and direction. A little back story…I was raised in a very strict Christian household with loving parents and I appreciate everything my parents have done for me. With that being said my parents raised me in a manner that placed family of the utmost importance. Family means everything. We did everything together…literally everything. And if you did something not with the family it was considered wrong and against God’s will. This allowed little to no room for independence and my parents constantly expected us to be perfect which for me created a lot of stress. There are two problems my wife and I are having: First, this same mentality my parents had when I was a kid they have today with my wife and I who have kids of our own! For example, if they travel to see family about six hours north of us and we don’t go they say “you should go with us and you are isolating yourself from your family which God does not like.” Years and years of this mentality has left me basically in constant fear of disappointing my parents and when I do decide to go against their wishes I am left with a lot of guilt an anxiety thinking I am out of God’s will. I know the lord does not give us a spirit of fear or anxiety (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 5:7). I am just ashamed that I have this fear of my parents and I cannot stand as a man of god on my own and feel comfortable making decisions as I am led by God. Proverbs 29:25 teaches that the “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” I feel like I am trapped in this snare and I need Jesus to set me free of it.

    The second part of our problem is that when I was young (still under my father’s household) he decided to stop going to a church and start his own at his house. To this day all of his children (myself included) and grandchildren now attend his church. No one else attends. No one outside family, its just us. I feel like he does really love his family and he wants his children around him but he does it to a detriment and he uses this church service ( with him as the pastor) to keep us close. There are many sermons preached about how family is everything and if you start straying from family be careful because God will chastise you. Also the sermons can include degrading comments about anyone of his children if front of everyone including verbal abuse. When questioned (which I have done in the past) he says don’t lay a hand on God’s anointed and I am your pastor and I am trying to shepherd you and you have a spirit of rebellion. Putting all that aside my wife and I have felt God’s pull on our hearts to attend an actual church where we can fellowship with Christ’s body. I had a conversation with him about this and he blew up and said we are church hopping and cant handle the word so we want to go somewhere, where it is preached softer. I feel I have been so burdened by all this my whole life that it is tough for me to even feel lead from the Lord to make decisions about our life. I love my father but I feel that God may be calling my wife and I deeper but because we are so afraid of what my parents might think it is holding us back. I almost feel like just a complete separation from them (just for a season) would be good for our relationship. I am praying for God’s direction and boldness to take this step and have faith that he will provide and take away our fears. Again, I love my father but I feel this scripture sums it up for me. “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37. Can you pray for me? Maybe offer some advice? Am I missing anything? Or in the wrong?

    Thank you and blessings

    1. Hi Matthew,
      You’re welcome! It blesses me that God used the post in your life. I’m generally in favor of families doing things together too; seems to be the bigger problem for most families is being fractured and having little time together. I attribute this to most of our lives being so busy, being pulled in so many different directions, etc. With that said, children also need some amount of freedom, and I can imagine how unhealthy it would be if kids were never allowed to do anything without their parents standing over their shoulders; therefore, if that was the case, I can imagine how it would be claustrophobic and harmful.

      You said:

      “This same mentality my parents had when I was a kid they have today with my wife and I who have kids of our own!”

      This concerns me, because you (not your father/parents) are the head of your household. You’re responsible before God regarding how you raise your children. If your parents see something sinful, should address it, but they shouldn’t be trying to control how you raise your kids, and – based on what you’re saying – it doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything that’s warranting the strong language they’re using. You need to establish your own home: ““Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31; Genesis 2:24).

      Let me give you two encouragements:
      1. You are not outside of God’s will when you spend time as a family without your parents.
      2. Children are commanded to obey their parents, but adults are commanded to honor their parents. There’s a difference. I love my parents. They live up the road from us. I strive to honor them, and I listen to their counsel, but I’m not commanded to obey them.

      The situation you described with your father’s “church” is unhealthy and unbiblical. He has physical relatives present, but no spiritual relatives present? Where are the brothers and sisters in Christ that make up that “church”? Where are the other elders that serve with him, provide accountability, and prevent a “one-man-show”? I would not attend his church. If God wanted him to pastor a church, He’d provide other like-minded families. The absence of those families is telling.

      You need to do not only what’s best for your family, but what’s obedient to God. Not what your dad thinks is best or what’s obedient to him. For me, I had to leave the Catholic Church. My family was furious with me. Since then, my parents have become Christians and my dad is a deacon in the church I pastor. If I would’ve obeyed my parents, I’d still be Catholic…and so would they!

      I don’t think your dad is pastoring a “church.” I think he’s acting as the patriarch to his family. There’s a difference. Take your family to a biblically-ordered church that has offices, ordinances, and spiritual (not just physical) family members. And don’t feel bad about it! Be released to obey God. Obey the verse you quoted: Matthew 10:37. That verse was THEE verse I needed when leaving the Catholic Church and infuriating my family. I had to keep telling myself, “I’m choosing Christ.” You should too.

      Last thing. Write out your honest thoughts to your father. Have your wife read it. Tell him you love him, you want to honor him, but you also need to do what’s best for your family and what you believe is obedient to God. Be gentle, but firm. When the letter is done, sleep on it, read it again, make necessary edits, sleep on it again, read i t again, and make necessary edits. Then give it to your dad.

      I will pray for you! Please keep me updated.

    2. Hi Scott,

      Thank you so much! Everything you said is what my wife and I have been feeling for many years. We have been praying and feeling lead to fellowship elswhere but we are met with scary stories of what happens if we leave/disobey and it’s not God’s will. We are also told that God would not split up our family. It’s hard because we would be the taking a stand and our entire family (there’s 12 others) that would be saying “how could you do such a thing?” “Your splitting up the family!” I am ashamed to day his words have snared us and left us paralyzed but I am going to be obedient to Christ and move forward!

      I’ll keep you updated!

      God bless,

    3. Hi Matthew,
      Glad to hear all that. When people have to scare people into staying, that’s almost a guarantee something is wrong. Fear of man is a poor – and unbiblical – tactic to get people to do what others want…versus what God wants.

      Yes, God values families, and I’ve stressed a number of times from the pulpit to my congregation that I like seeing families together, but sometimes obedience to Christ means a divided family. I’m a regional facilitator for NCFIC (The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches). I love seeing families worshiping together. But I also know know God wants you – like He wants all Christians – in a biblically ordered church. If that’s not what your dad is pastoring, then you should find something else. Perhaps your decision can be the spark for change.

      If you give me your location, I can see if I can find a biblically-ordered church near you.

      God bless you, I’ll pray for you, and thanks for keeping me updated.

    4. Hi Matthew,
      Yes, sorry, I should’ve been more sensitive to that, i.e. expecting you to divulge personal info over the Internet.

      You can message me through the contact form on my site and it goes right to my inbox, or if you’re on Facebook you can message me there: @PastorWCC.

      If you wanted to talk on the phone, we could do that, but I’d have to schedule it for tomorrow or another day as I’m trying to finish some things.

    5. No worries Scott I actually don’t mind I just wanted to see if I could speak with you further…I’ll message you.

      Thanks,

  2. I’m really struggling man. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am fighting a battle I don’t know how to win or let go of. I’m stuck. I feel as if God is working with me on so many levels. I’m constantly being attacked by thoughts from the enemy as well. I reach out to people and all the information seems so confusing. Three years ago my wife and I were saved. After being saved and trying to live godly lives all hell broke loose. First my mother in law of 30 years died within a week of us finding out she had cancer. She passed in October 2015. Then a year later, same month, October 2016 our 16 year old son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He went through chemo and is in remission now. We never stopped praying. During his chemo treatments my dad dies of cancer. My dad and I had no relationship at all. I had always said I would NEVER attend his funeral. Yet I did. I felt I needed to or was supposed to. I forgave him for not being there. So much man. But our son getting sick has threw me for a loop. For a year now I have cried ever single day. I don’t know how to let go. I feel as if I’m being taught a lesson. See, when he went into remission I started living in absolute fear. For a year now I’ve lived in absolute fear of losing someone. Losing him, my wife or one of our other two children. It’s caused me so much pain and suffering. Along this journey I feel as if Gods wanting me to depend solely on him. And I don’t know how. I became so fearful of losing my wife I figured I must love her, my children and this world more than God. And in a way I feel as if I do. I put my wife on a pedestal all years of our marriage. Always Clinging and depending on her for strength, knowledge, help, a kind word, guidance in making decisions, etc…the whole nine yards. She’s been my go to ALWAYS. And now she’s still my go to. That’s why I’ve become so fearful of losing her. I can’t think of anything else for over a year now. It’s crippled me. I’m trying to let go. I’m wanting to depend more on God. I’m wanting to love God more than her and my family. But I don’t know how. I feel ill never know how. How? How can I love God more? I am so confused man. Last year I contemplated suicide. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m scared and lost. I’m broken. I’m striving so hard to be something or someone I feel ill never be. Life seemed easier when I wasn’t thinking of God. And now that I do I don’t know how to do it. He asks so much from us. Things that pull at my heart and hurt, emotionally, mentally and even physically. I’m tired man. I don’t know how to do this. Yet I promised God. I made ‘a deal’ lol – yeah I know, God doesn’t make deals. But when our son was sick I offered up so much. I told God I’d suffer forever with depression if he’d save our son. I am suffering man. And I know God doesn’t want me to suffer. I know God loves me. But why man, why can’t I love him as much as I love my wife and kids? I want to but don’t know how to. And in saying that I feel ill suffer forever if I can’t put him and his will first. I am so terrified I’ll lose my wife. I love her so much. She’s not even sick. But she’s been my God. I’ve placed her above him all our marriage. And now I don’t know how to put God before her where he should have always been. I wasn’t taught any different. I didn’t grow up in church. I wasn’t taught the word of God. I was a sinner. I am still a sinner. How do I fix this? I’m afraid I’ll lose my wife or my children and then I’ll be mad and blame God, and turn away from him completely, rather than accepting his will above my own, loving him and knowing His ways are better than mine. I’m lost man. I feel broken. I feel as if God and satan are fighting tooth and nail for my soul. Please help me. Please pray for me. I’m always looking for answers. I go to God but don’t hear him. I sometimes feel as if I do, in my thoughts, but then I get confused if it’s God or satan. I don’t know how to distinguish between all the thoughts that go on inside my head. I don’t know how to rest in God. I strive so hard Scott. How do I walk this path? Many days I’m ready to give up. I’ve learned there’s two sides of me now, I either care too much or don’t care at all. And not caring at all about anything, I.e. The suffering of the world, people, turn off my emotions, stop loving my wife and children etc seems to be the easiest way to avoid this pain. To just stop loving. And the other side is I care too much, I love them too much, this life too much, their smiles I love yet I’m afraid to lose them and never see those smiles again, I love too much. Two side of me. Both seem to be causing some type of suffering. What does God want from me? I ask. I don’t know. God bless you. Thanks for listening. Can anyone help me? Or is this between God and I? I am being tossed around to the point I don’t know who I am anymore.

    1. Hello,
      I’m very sorry. It sounds like you have been through a lot. First, may I offer you a free copy of my book, Enduring Trials God’s Way? I can give you an electronic copy, or if you’d prefer a paperback, I’ll send you one of those.

      You said, “I reach out to people and all the information seems confusing…I’m always looking for answers.” Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, and Proverbs 24:6 all state:

      There is wisdom in many counselors.

      It’s great that you’re speaking to different people, but Ecclesiastes 12:12 says:

      And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

      Although the verse mentions books, I think this verse can also mean that there’s no end of different opinions. Might seem odd that I offered my book, but one reason I did is it’s packed with Scripture, and that will help you. Perhaps you’ve been reading the Word, but I don’t think you mentioned that in your comments. You said, “I didn’t grow up in church. I wasn’t taught the word of God.” The same is true for me! Have you been reading the Word daily? Get yourself a good study Bible if you don’t have one already. I’d recommend the Thomas Nelson Study Bible.

      I hope this quote might encourage you: “God gives us grace for our circumstances, but not our imaginations.” The Lord told Paul, “My grace will be sufficient for you,” but His grace is only sufficient for what we’re facing…not for what we’re imagining. You listed some situations (losing your wife), fearful that you couldn’t handle it if they came to pass. Right now you don’t have the grace for these trials. They seem unendurable. If they took place, God would give you the grace to endure.

      Regarding suicide, I want to say this gently, but honestly. If you committed suicide it would be a terribly selfish sin. You’re trying to end you’re suffering, but allowing it to be transferred to others. You’d leave your wife and son behind to deal with even more grief and pain. Think of all they’re going through too. They need you.

      You said, “Why can’t I love him as much as I love my wife and kids?” Loving God is different than loving a human being. We can touch, talk to, listen to (audibly), etc. the people in our lives. But it’s not the same with God. If you want to know if you love God, then let me ask you this: do you obey Him? In John 14:15 and 23 Jesus said:

      “If you love Me, keep My commandments…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

      You said, “I go to God but don’t hear Him.” I don’t know what you mean by “hearing Him.” If you mean audibly, we can’t hear God audibly. You hear Him as He speaks to you through His Word. Again, I’d encourage you to read the Bible regularly.

      You said God and Satan are fighting for you. I believe that. Your family needs you too; they’re also “fighting” for you. If you love them as much as you say you do, then your prayer should be that God helps you be the strong spiritual husband and father they need.

    2. Praise God for your reply. I would love a copy of your book. An electronic copy is fine. Thank you for such a kind encouraging reply. I do read the word daily. It’s the word at times which makes me feel guilty. Not that I feel I’m being convicted due to any sins, I feel forgiven for my past sins. The guilt I feel comes from not feeling deserving enough even for God to spare me this suffering. I’m really relying on God to take this all away. But question if I’m really relying on him. As my faith seems weak. I won’t take medication to help with the depression and OCD thinking as i feel it’ll change me, I’ve taken them before. I pray and ask God to tell me what to do. I feel if I depend on the meds I’m not depending on God. My family suffering watching me fall apart like this. I am constantly attacked by thoughts. I replace the thoughts with scripture. I try and do attempt to take many thoughts captive and turn it over to God, to fight back with scripture. But since I’m still suffering I assume I’m not doing it right. I will pray for God to help me be the spiritual husband and fathe they need. It’s almost like I am a new man in Christ and don’t know how to be him. It’s like I’m fighting to get back to the man I used to be instead of accepting who I am now. But who I am now is a crying mess, no hope, fears, sadness, thoughts controlling me instead of me not controlling them. It’s as if I cannot. Maybe I need meds. But I’ve fought so long now, over a year without them. But the whole time it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t know for sure if God wants me to take them or not. I want him to heal this. The pills in the past nearly ruined my life. But at least I was somewhat happy. I want to please God. I do. But in tasking in so much information and the bible itself scaring me, has me fearful and guilty. I cant discern if I’m being tricked by the devil, him using Gods words against me or if it’s the Holy Spirit convicting me. Right now I’m not working. So i feel undeserving to even eat because of a bible verse. If a man not work he should not eat. I cry when my wife buys me food. The thoughts are you don’t deserve is food you didn’t work for it. So it’s guilt, self hate, it makes me feel worthless, hopeless, I take it as God saying to me, you’re being punished because you’re not a good Christian. You don’t even deserve food. Other verses bring worry and fear and guilt too. A double minded man must not expect anything from God. So I feel since I’m still suffering I must be double minded, I’m no good and my prayers will never be answered. At times I’m so confused it’s driving me away from God. But I still pray, I go to church, I read, I study…but my thoughts tell me I’ve got it all wrong. I’m doing it wrong. I don’t believe enough. I don’t have faith, etc, etc, etc. and my thoughts also say stay away from the meds God will fix this. I often wonder if that too might be the devil. A trick. Maybe medicine is what I need to bring clarity to all this. So the devil is saying don’t take it don’t take it because he knows it’ll stop some of my suffering. I’m lost. I feel broken. My thoughts take over everything. I’m sorry this is so long. I so look forward to reading your Ebook. My email is somethingforpops AT gmail Dot com God bless you. Please pray for us.

    3. Hello again,
      I emailed you an electronic copy of Enduring Trials God’s Way.

      I’m glad you’re in the Word regularly. No, you’re not deserving of God’s grace and mercy, either am I, and either is anyone else who has ever received it. If we did deserve it, it wouldn’t be grace and mercy, because by definition they can’t be earned.

      You mentioned weak faith. Pray according to Mark 9:24 like the father of the demon possessed boy:

      Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

      Some people are completely opposed to meds, medicine, doctors, etc. I’m not in that category. God can use medical advancements like He can use anything else. The problem would be if you depended ONLY on them, which doesn’t seem to be the case with you.

      You said, “Since I’m still suffering I assume I’m not doing it right.” We all suffer as long as we’re on this side of heaven. Some of God’s greatest servants suffered greatly. Read the second half of Hebrews 11.

      I would encourage you to work hard to find work. Trying to find a job should be your full-time job until you find one. Working is good for us, and I’ve seen inactivity contribute to mental illness. Maybe you are being disciplined for not working, but that’s God’s way of moving you to get a job.

      I will pray for you!

  3. Good day,

    I got married into a Catholic family, i was attending a Pentecostal church before marriage. After 7 years and two children, things became tough, we both lost our jobs. Against my opinion, my spouse left for another country in search of greener pastures with the approval of his parent and siblings. Leaving I and the kids alone but send money home from time to time. During the two years of his absence i rediscovered and rededicated my life to Christ, left Catholic church and joined a pentecostal church primarily because i understand the word of God more in this church and my spiritual life is growing. Now my spouse is raising hell because of my change in church, though he’s not here with us. He is virtually not talking to me anymore. Please advice on what to do.

    1. Hello Comfort,
      One of the difficulties associated with responding to people’s comments is I’m unable to hear the side of the other person (or people) involved. Scripture says both sides should be heard before coming to a conclusion (Proverbs 18:17). Using just the info you’ve shared, I’d say that unless it was a last resort, a man should not leave his family. Your approval as his wife and helper (Genesis 2:18) should’ve trumped the approval of his family members. The fact that he sent money home shows he was still trying to take care of all of you, which is good.

      I was raised Catholic, so I’m familiar with the lack of biblical preaching/exposition. My family was also upset when I left the Catholic Church, so I can understand your husband being upset too. Catholicism is very much a “family religion.” You’re in a tough situation, because you’re facing two competing commands: you have the command to submit to your husband (which would encourage you to go back to the Catholic Church), and you have the comment to worship in spirit and truth (which takes you out of the Catholic Church).

      My encouragement would be to pray God would change your husband’s heart and allow you to leave the Catholic Church. I would also recommend humbly petitioning your husband (versus arguing with him) about your desire to attend a Bible-teaching church. When your flesh tempts you to flare up and get upset, strive to remain loving and gentle, so your husband can see the way the Gospel has worked in your heart.

  4. Hi. My sister has been attending church 2 months ago and has dramatically change. She comes home and turns off the tv to her husband and dont let him drink a beer while watching a soccer game. She starves and is becoming extrimist. Her husband is leaving. She is suffering but she says she puts god first. They have 2 beautiful dauhters and he has been a fantastic husband and father but she is getting everyone tired of the cituation. She are a nice family but since she started going to church evweyrhing is bad. She is hiving up on make up and pants. She is wearing only dresses and skirts. Ahe is stoping her husband to live a normal life like they did before. He reached his limits and is leaving saturdAy. I don’t know what to tell my sister. I want to support her and i feel sorry i am more with him but dont let her know that.

    1. Hi Juliana,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m sorry to hear this. If your sister is a new Christian, it’s common when people are recently converted to…become a little extreme. Moderation and balance are usually signs of maturity and come with time in God’s Word as you see everything isn’t black-and-white. While I’m not compromise or sin, there are hills to die on, and hills you let go. Letting your husband have a beer isn’t a battle to fight.

      Even if your sister loves God, which I suspect she does, this isn’t the way for her to “win over her husband.” 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” She seems to want her husband to be more spiritual, but she has to help produce that by her example. Would you encourage her to watch this message I preached on wives respecting their husbands? I will pray for her and her husband!

  5. I had the most painful and difficult conversation with my 32 year old son who is planning to wed his boyfriend and wants me and his brothers to be there. I have been a Christian for 5 years now but my adult children are not yet Christians (still praying for them). We are a close knit family so imagine their mother not attending their wedding because it will be a same sex marriage. I have treated my son and his boyfriend with love, although I do not support this relationship, I do not love my son any less, and I treat him as such. As God has taught me, I love him no matter what he does. But I do not support this decision and when I told him this, he was hurt. It was an adult conversation, he didn’t yell or speak to me in anger (I told you they are good boys) but I know he’s disappointed, hurt and now I face a possibility of my other adult children (3 others) to feel the same way about me. Although I was crying and hurt while we were talking because it was difficult for me, I now feel relieved that I stood on what I believe in and in obedience to God. So I pray that God blesses my son in his life journey and for his/their salvation, too. And pray that one day, they will look back at this moment and respect their mother for the hard decision I just made in choosing God over my children.

    1. Hello Sue,
      Wow, I am so sorry. This is terrible. I have been asked, including even recently, about parents attending the wedding of a child that they don’t think should be marrying the person. But this is the first time someone has talked to me about a homosexual child’s wedding. I hope others read your comment, because I think you are handling this very well. Instead of responding in anger, you are responding lovingly, but also firmly. If it encourages you at all, I’m convinced you’re doing the right thing.

      Yes, keep praying for your son, and his boyfriend’s salvation. If they get saved, they will become convicted of their sin. But if they aren’t saved, then even a homosexual relationship is irrelevant because they would go to hell anyway. I will pray for their salvation too, as well as wisdom for you dealing with your son in the future.

    1. Hello Joe,
      Despite your comment, and I’m thankful you read my post and gave me an opportunity to respond. If you’d be interested in conversing, I’d be in favor of that. Can you tell me about your religious background, if there is one?

    1. Hello Clinton,
      I’m sorry, but can you give a little more detail? By saying “child” it sounds like you’re not keeping someone who’s fairly young? When children are young, you have enough leverage in their lives to enforce obedience. My post would only apply to grown children refusing to submit to household rules.

  6. I recently changed jobs. I went to a new school, grade, city, etc. I left tenure and 29 years of teaching in the same place a half mile from the school to driving 35 minutes one way in order to follow God’s direction. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me, but it forced a change for my 8th grader. Watching her be miserable is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I know this is God’s plan for her, as it was me. So many things have lined up positively since I took the job. I don’t know how to make her stop hurting and try to adjust. I have her in Christian therapy. I pray everyday that she will turn to God more to help her adjust. Even though I am following God’s direction, this has been so hard. She does not understand that. She only knows she is miserable.

    1. Hello Susan,
      Yes, change like that can be very difficult for young people who tend to think they’ll never made friends like they had before.

      Have you found a new church? has your daughter made friends at that church? I ask because it’s common for God to meet our needs (and some desires) through the body of Christ.

      If you’re convinced God wanted you to make this move, then you also have to trust He is using this in her life for her best interests too.

      I will pray for her adjustment. What are her father’s thoughts?

    2. The best way to help her would be just to show her Gods love. Gods love will draw her. If you plant the seed of faith, God will make it Grow. I think a big problem i had was always standing in the way of God, trying to help my wife out of my own power, but as soon as i stepped out of the way, God actually started working in her life. If she is under your covering then your decisions are valid. Just pray for her, and fight against the thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. God Bless, i know that God will make a way where there seems to be none. God saved my wife from suicide, depression, Divorce and so many bad mindsets, he will definitely be at your rescue.

      Speak what you want to see and keep on doing it. if bad thought come just resist it and the devil will flee.
      “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12

      I am praying for your situation. God bless

    3. Hello Regardt,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. This is a wonderful testimony with good advice. Thank you for providing both and seeking to minister to someone else on the post!

    4. Hi Susan,
      Ah, that’s very good to hear. Thank you for passing along the update! I will pray for the continued progress, including her smoothly adjusting and developing of godly friendships.

  7. Hi… I am from India.. I am from a non christian family and my boyfriend led me to the Lord. With faith that God will allow us to get married, we sought the permission from our parents for the wedding (which is how a wedding happens in India). But my parents, spl my mom has flatly denied citing religion as the reason. She does not want me marrying a christian. I am now in a confusion on how to proceed with this. Pls do pray for me n my boyfriend.

    1. Hi Swetha,
      I’m familiar with your situation, and I can imagine an Indian family not wanting their daughter to marry a Christian. I hope this post encourages you. There are times we face conflicting commands, and we have to choose which one to obey. For example, you’re commanded to honor your parents, but God would also have you marry a Christian man, versus a non-Christian man:

      2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

      In this case, I think the right decision is for you to marry the man and pray God opens your parents hearts to Christ. Hopefully the example they see through you and your husband will encourage them.

  8. Yes there have been times I’ve chosen God over family. Specifically my mom is a recovering alcoholic and there are times I have to limit my interaction with her because she brings me down. I have to choose God, trust in Him about the situation and let it go.
    As a mom, my kids can distract me from getting that quiet time with God I need. You are right that our kids need to see our faithfulness to God. I try to do my quiet time when they are watching a movie so if they ask what I’m doing, I can say I’m putting God first. This post was great. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for reading and sharing an example from your life that’s required choosing God over a family member. If you want to limit your children’s time watching television, one other possibility is doing your quiet time before they’re up, or having them read the Word at the same time.

  9. My wife and I are both born again Christians reuniting after many years of separation. However, my wife is on a mission as she says to establish her ministry. I am all for it and willing to support her as best I can. Yet, she has pretty much eliminated any time for us as a couple spending hours in prayer, church, and, reading her bible. Even so much as believe it or not, turning on Daystar during sex and changing the subject when I am attempting to woo her into bed. I am left to either embrace her or leave her in this take it or leave it relationship. I can’t even take her to dinner because she is either fasting, or preparing for prayer. I fully admit that my frustration is reaching a crescendo and my faith is being tested. If I say anything to the contrary, I am trying to “change her”, or “distract her from her path.” At this time, we live 300 miles apart. She lives in a minimalist apartment, and I have two fairly nice homes. She works 2 jobs, I am semi-retired and can support her without her having to work. Even her own son lives near me, Her statement is I love you and our son, but I love God more. Submission to her husband is not in her vocabulary. and she refuses to see the importance of our family under one roof in a traditional marriage relationship citing that God has called her to this path and there is no negotiating. Can you feel my frustration?

    1. Hello Larry,
      First, I’m only hearing your side of the story, and Scripture is clear we should hear both sides of a story before coming to a conclusion. I’ve been in counseling enough times, heard one person’s side of a story, thought to myself, “There’s no way I can imagine it being different than this” only to hear the other person’s side and be corrected.

      With that said, I’ll try to provide what counsel I can.

      First, I would approach the pastor and/or elders of the church in which she’s serving. If this is a godly church, then:
      1. There should be limitations on her involvement, ministry, service, etc. While women can (and should) serve in the church, their primary ministry is to their husband, home, children, etc (Titus 2).
      2. The pastor and elders will receive your concerns, understand your marriage is more important than her ministry, and encourage her to pour less time into the church and more time into her marriage.
      There’s also the possibility that if her marriage is as bad as you describe that she’s disqualified from serving in the church until her marriage is improved.

      It seems as though your efforts with her are not working and it’s necessary to involve the leaders in the church.

      I can’t tell from your comment if you live together or are separated. It sounds like both are true? If she’s separated from her husband, she should not be serving this actively until her marriage is restored.

      As far as feeling your frustration, assuming what you said is true and I’m not missing some important details, yes, it sounds very frustrating. God would not “call her to a path” that compromises – or worse ruins – her marriage, which seems to be what she’s claiming is the case.

  10. Great points, Scott! I’m blessed to have been raised by committed Christians who modeled this for me. One example I saw growing up- When relatives from out-of-town would visit they were invited to church with us. If they declined, we’d meet them afterwards but didn’t miss service for them.

    1. Hi Beka,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. That’s a fantastic example. I appreciate you sharing. I was actually having trouble thinking of more practical examples of what it can look like to choose God over family (or friends). I hope people read your comment to see what it can look like.

  11. 4th choosing God over family is what we are supposed to do. All great points and yes, it truly does set us up for show the next generation what matters most!

  12. Choosing God over family is not easy but in the end it’s worth it. I am currently at the moment sticking with God and not family and it’s leading to me court. My dad cosigned a student loan a few years ago and now its time to pay it back but my husband and I have no money. God has told us that he will take care of the bill as long as we believe and have faith. My dad doesn’t believe God speaks to me and so now is suing me and taking me to court. His words were “are you willing to tell a judge God speaks to you”? And honestly yes. I know this is a spiritual battle and its really my belief in God that’s on trial but I know in the end God will win. Continue to pray for my husband and I.

    1. Hello Kamara,
      I’m sorry to hear about the situation with your parents, especially about your parents taking you to court. 1 Corinthians 6:1-4 says:

      1 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?

      I’m glad to hear that you’re trusting God, but I’m not sure what you mean when you said:

      God has told us that He will take care of the bill as long as we believe and have faith.

      Do you mean you believe God is going to pay the bill for you, or something along those lines?

      If you cosigned the loan with your dad, then you have a responsibility to pay the bill. You shouldn’t leave it up to him to pay it, especially since it was for your schooling.

      Part of letting our “yes be yes” is repaying what we owe. I hope you will repay the loan as soon as possible. If you do, perhaps your dad won’t take you to court.

    2. Yes sir we understand that but we currently don’t have any money and my husband is unemployed still looking for a job. When I mean by having faith is God told me everything would be taken care of bc we have no money.

  13. In following God’s call to go overseas, we knew we would be choosing God over family. Reactions from family members were all over the map; it didn’t seem to matter whether the person was a Christian or not. There were good reactions and less-than-good reactions from Christians and non-Christians alike.

    We had to come to grips with Matthew 19:27-30 and decide whether we believed what it said or not. And it’s really one of the main issues all Christians eventually need to decide, even in many more ways than “big” decisions to move overseas.

    Whether you believe this truth or decide not to. It’s a crossroads we all face at several – even many – different points in our lives. How we answer this question reveals whether we really have the Spirit of God working in our hearts to make us more like Jesus or not (at which point, we are really not genuinely converted, after all.)

    If you back up to verse 16, you see – in context – Jesus’ interactions with the rich young man. We get to see the choice he made. And we get to see that more important than obeying commandments (on the surface) is a willingness to follow Jesus and do what he says. The young man obeyed the commandments, but he walked away from the one who gave the commandments in the first place. His god turned out to be his wealth and the “security” he provided him.

    1. Great thoughts brother, thank you. I didn’t think of going overseas as a missionary as an example of having to choose God over family, but it makes perfect sense.

      You kept saying, “we.” Does that mean Jess faced this too from her family members?

      You know the situation with my parents as well as anyone. Things were terrible between us when I left the Catholic Church and became a Christian, but by God’s grace they’ve been saved and our relationship is the best it’s ever been. Unfortunately, we have some other family members – all Catholics – and the relationship with them has never been the same.

  14. Scott… Some good thoughts… Thanks! What I have reflected on is the command to love our Lord and others. Our love for both often seems to cause the wedge. We know our calling is to our Lord, living in the Light is the only way to truly live. Families may not approve and may reject our choice, but if we love them… truly love them… we will gracious live a life of obedience to the Lord. Our family my blame our faith for the division, but the division is caused by sin. Many believers have put their lives on the line in order to remain true to their Lord and love their families. I was always impressed by the life of Charles Fineberg who was declared dead by his orthodox Jewish family when he converted to Christ. They would return his letters unopened and hang up the phone when they recognized his voice. His love for them and his Lord remained steadfast.

  15. but *what* do you do with the sometimes overwhelming PAIN that division can cause? I confess that often times I wish I could forget my faith, just so I can restore the relationship

    1. Christina, I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching at you, but you asked, so I’ll try to answer best I can…

      First, I don’t know your exact situation, but I know I was very separated from my family when I embraced Christianity. By the grace of God, as you know, my parents are now part of the church I pastor…which is something I NEVER would’ve imagined happening. Never. My wish was just for them to become Christians, say nothing about actually become Christians, be baptized by me, and move to be with Katie, the kids and me. Eph 3:20 in action. So the first thing I might say is hold out hope that things can really turn around. It took years and lots of prayer.

      Obviously that’s not a guarantee though. If it never happens (and it might not), you have to look for the ways God’s grace is being sufficient for you despite those painful relationships…look for the ways God is blessing you through this: you have a great husband that loves church, loves going w/ you, is involved, and most importantly loves God. And you have a bunch of Christians around you that see you as part of their family.

  16. My parents have always been a disappointment to me. I choose Christ every day of my life. I am blessed to have Steve and Randi and a wonderful Pastor who cares.

  17. I have been sruggling with this my whole life. Even now, my moms been in town for almost 6 weeks and has not called me once or offered to come to our house to see or help me. Feeling a little down about now.. Thanks for the love and support of my church family.:) I love each one of you.

    1. I’m so sorry Keri. That is rough. It probably doesn’t help that you’re stuck at home recovering from surgery, isolated from everyone. Your church family does love and miss you.

  18. Wow. Really appreciate you putting these thoughts into words. It’s not easy when you’ve had to set up barriers and gaps with your family – for whatever reason – and hopefully those separations can heal (by God’s mighty work), but what a blessing to share those worldly struggles and life in general with an eternal family when it can otherwise feel very lonely! Good stuff.

    1. needed to be read 🙂 Thanks Scott Have always felt that to be true, but at times it’s sure a rough place to be. Thank you God for giving me strength to never put You on the back burner because of what my family may think of my walk.

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