Is it wrong to not tell my parents I’m Christian?

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By BibleAsk Team


Deciding whether to tell your parents about your faith in Christ can be a deeply personal issue. This decision can be influenced by a variety of factors including cultural background, potential conflict, and personal safety. From a biblical perspective, however, there are several principles and teachings that can help guide you in making this decision. In this discussion, we will explore these principles, supported by references from Bible.

1. The Importance of Confessing Faith in Christ

One of the core teachings of Christianity is the importance of confessing faith in Jesus Christ openly.

  • Matthew 10:32-33: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

This passage underscores the significance of publicly acknowledging one’s faith. Jesus highlights the reciprocal nature of confession, implying that those who confess Him before others will be acknowledged before God.

  • Romans 10:9-10: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Paul emphasizes that confession is an integral part of salvation, alongside believing in one’s heart. This suggests that an outward expression of faith is essential.

2. Honoring Your Parents

The Bible also places a strong emphasis on honoring one’s parents, which includes respecting and valuing their role and authority.

  • Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

This commandment, one of the Ten Commandments, stresses the importance of honoring parents, which is foundational in Christian ethics.

  • Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.'”

Paul reiterates this commandment in the New Testament, highlighting its continued relevance and the blessing associated with it.

3. Balancing Confession and Honor

Balancing the call to confess one’s faith with the command to honor one’s parents can be challenging, especially if parents might react negatively to the news of their child’s conversion to Christianity.

A. Wisdom and Discernment

The Bible encourages believers to exercise wisdom and discernment in their actions.

  • James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Seeking God’s wisdom through prayer can help in discerning the right time and manner to share one’s faith with parents.

B. Timing and Approach

The timing and approach to sharing your faith can significantly impact how the message is received. Paul’s advice to the Colossians is relevant here.

  • Colossians 4:5-6: “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

This passage suggests that our interactions should be characterized by wisdom, grace, and thoughtfulness. It implies that one should consider the context and the individuals involved when sharing important news.

4. The Role of the Holy Spirit

Believers are encouraged to rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance in all aspects of their lives, including sharing their faith.

  • John 16:13: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

You are not alone. The Holy Spirit will give power to your witness. It is the Spirit who transforms a life (Titus 3:5), and a transformed life is the most convincing evidence for the Christian. As you witness, you should spend much time in prayer that you may be enabled to let your light shine in such a way that others will recognize the power of God in you (Matthew 5:16).

5. Possible Consequences and the Cost of Discipleship

Jesus did not shy away from discussing the potential challenges and divisions that could arise from following Him.

  • Matthew 10:34-37: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

This passage highlights that allegiance to Christ can sometimes result in conflict within families. It emphasizes the necessity of prioritizing one’s commitment to Jesus, even in the face of familial opposition.

6. Being a Light to Your Parents and Family

Believers are called to be a light to the world, which includes their own families.

  • Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Friend, your testimony of being a Christian to your parents may be the tool that the Lord may use for their salvation. Jesus said to the delivered man from demons, “Go home … and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you” (Mark 5:19).

John the Apostle speaks of this in 1 John 1:1-3, when he says, “That . . . which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.” Today, we who have experienced new life in Christ should give an account of His love and forgiveness, both verbally and in the way we live our lives.

7. Persecution and Suffering for Christ

The New Testament frequently addresses the reality of persecution and suffering for one’s faith.

  • 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
  • 1 Peter 4:14-16: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

These passages remind believers that suffering and reproach for Christ’s sake are to be expected and are opportunities to glorify God.

8. Praying for Parents and Family Members

Interceding for family members through prayer is an essential aspect of sharing one’s faith.

  • 1 Timothy 2:1-4: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Praying for your parents’ salvation and for wisdom in how to share your faith with them aligns with God’s desire for all to be saved.

9. Respecting and Loving Your Parents

Even while sharing your faith, it is crucial to continue respecting and loving your parents, reflecting Christ’s love.

  • 1 Peter 3:15-16: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”

Approaching your parents with meekness and respect, and maintaining good conduct, can help in preserving relationships and witnessing effectively.

10. Encouragement from Biblical Examples

The Bible provides examples of individuals who had to navigate difficult family dynamics due to their faith.

A. Joseph

Joseph maintained his faith despite being sold into slavery by his brothers. He later forgave them and saw God’s hand in his suffering.

  • Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

B. Daniel

Daniel remained faithful to God despite the pressures of living in a foreign land and facing potential death for his beliefs.

  • Daniel 6:10: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”

Conclusion

From a biblical perspective, there is a strong emphasis on confessing one’s faith in Christ openly, honoring one’s parents, and navigating the balance between these two principles with wisdom and discernment. The Bible provides guidance on the importance of confession, the role of the Holy Spirit, the potential consequences of discipleship, and the need to be a light to one’s family. Additionally, it encourages believers to pray for their family members and to respect and love them, even when sharing difficult truths.

While the decision to tell your parents about your faith is deeply personal and context-specific, the biblical principles outlined suggest that believers should strive to share their faith openly, with wisdom, grace, and respect. By seeking God’s guidance through prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit, believers can navigate this challenging situation in a manner that honors both their commitment to Christ and their relationship with their parents.

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