Whether you mentor someone who has parents who aren’t Christians or you clicked on this because your parents do not share the same faith as you…first I want to remind us all:
The Bible calls us to obey and honor parents.
Ephesians 6:1-3 says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” We are called to obey and honor our parents. However you apply anything in this article, do it from a posture of humility and love, which is honoring to your parents and pleasing to the Lord.
The intent of this article is not to excuse abuse of any kind.
Honoring parents who do dishonorable things does not mean allowing harm to yourself. If this is happening, seek help immediately from a trusted adult (teacher, mentor, etc). What happens to you is not your fault. You have been made in the image of God and you have permission to get help.
Over the years, I have had many students ask me how they can share their faith with their parents. It is heartbreaking to me, because my faith is everything and I cannot imagine not being able to share it with my family. I believe and agree with the Bible that the parents are to be the primary disciple makers in the home. I also believe and agree with Scripture that children are to be respectful to their parents as their God-given authority. When a teen has come to me in frustration or anger- I tell them it is ok to grieve and wish everyone in your family shared your beliefs. But, respect and love will show the love of Christ and anger and disrespect will not.
To the students who with full sincerity are praying for their parents to follow Christ, I have a few suggestions I’ve shared with others.
Pray for your parents.
Pray that their hearts would be softened to the Gospel. Pray that a Christian co-worker would befriend them and show them the love of God. Pray BIG prayers- that maybe a complete stranger would just share the Gospel with them randomly. Pray that God would help you be alert and attentive to ways you’ve never thought of to show them God’s love.
In the small things, listen and obey the first time.
If your dad asks you to clean your room, immediately put your phone down and clean your room. If your mom asks you to help her with something, pause Netflix and immediately to help her. Listening and obeying with our full attention wholeheartedly will cause your parents to wonder what is going on. When they ask (because they will!), smile and say, “Jesus tells us to honor our parents. I love you.” And, all the parents reading this agree and say amen!
Talk about how you see God at work naturally and often.
“Mom, today a girl was really rude to me. I wanted to say something awful back, but, I’ve been praying that I would be kinder to others. I was thrilled that God answered my prayers and I was able to smile and tell her that was rude.” “Dad, I have been reading all about how the Lord is my shepherd in the Bible. I kind of want to google pictures of sheep.” Do not try to teach your parents. There is a fine line between respectfully sharing that you hear from God and He is at work in you and you belittling your parents by lecturing them.
Share the Gospel with your parents
I’ve told girls to blame me. “Hey dad, my leader at church said we all have to share the 3 Circles with someone before we come back next week. Can I practice it on you?” Or, you can simply share it with love and urgency. “Hey mom, I love you so much. I really need to show you a picture that changed my life. I feel like it will help you understand me more.” No matter your lead-in sentence, pray before you share. Entrust your family to the Lord. If they reject and do not listen, pray some more. Get your mentor to join you in praying. Fast for them.
Depending on the level of spiritual interest of your family you could suggest or initiate one of these activities.
As you share the love of Christ through your actions and words, pray that the verses above would be your lifestyle. Let your love for Jesus and your family create a “Put on then” lifestyle. Put on all of these and in a posture of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, forgiveness, bearing with each other, love and obedience share the reason you're able to do any of this…Jesus in you, the hope of glory. - Amy
Here is a cute free download Lockscreen from French Press Mornings to remind you of the "put on then" lifestyle.