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Reaching Pagan Parents

My parents took my son to a fortuneteller

Q. Our parents are not Christian. They want us to worship idols and took our son to a fortuneteller. In our culture we obey and honor our parents very highly. How can we follow Jesus without dishonoring our parents?

—Name Withheld

A. Christians in every culture are called to honor their parents and others in authority, but sometimes "We must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29). This was Peter's response the very first time Christians were persecuted for their faith. Jesus himself said that believers would sometimes have to choose between their family relationships and following him (Matt. 10:34-39).

Yet you don't have to treat your parents with dishonor. You should communicate to them your respect and gratitude, but also say that your faith has standards which you insist they uphold. Among these would be the requirement that they not expose you or your children to fortune-telling or idol worship. Pray that God will give you wisdom to speak the right words, and maintain the hope that one day your parents will be believers too.

For encouragement, read the story of Gideon in Judges 6:25-32. God commanded young Gideon to destroy his father's altar to Baal, and Gideon was so nervous about it that he did it in the middle of the night. But when daylight revealed the toppled altar, his father saw the truth: if Baal was a real god, he could have defended his own altar. Because Gideon obeyed God's leading, his father was brought to faith. May God lead you just as clearly today.

Frederica Mathewes-Green is the author of The Illumined Heart (Paraclete Press).

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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