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As painful as it might be sometimes, we cannot let anyone—including our own families—determine our eternal destiny. The decision to come to Christ and receive His free gift of eternal life is the most important decision you will ever make because it determines whether you spend eternity with God or separated from God. The Bible could not be any clearer: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). A family member should never control another’s eternal destination. Life on earth can be 100 years. Eternity is just that–forever.

As you consider this question, I urge you to not limit what God can do. Family relationships run very deep. Even though it may take time (and probably more time than you’d prefer), those who initially “disown” you can change their minds. Memories, family celebrations, children and grandchildren coming, happy moments and sad moments within the family, financial pressures, health issues, or even job transitions can all be used of the Lord to bring needed healing. As you give God time to work, consistently pray for a change of heart and a chance to speak to them about the greatest decision they too need to make. Ask God to give what Paul the apostle called a “door of opportunity” (Colossians 4:3). Pray also that they may hear the gospel from someone else who speaks of their need for the Savior. It often takes someone outside the family. God can bring that person or persons across their path at a most unexpected time and way.

Please keep in mind, though, that ultimately it is not their relationship with you that matters. Earthly relationships are passing. They change when our physical lives end. A relationship with Christ, however, is eternal. When your relatives see that you are willing to lose a family relationship over your salvation decision, they notice that sacrifice. Your decision communicates loudly.

I want to end by reminding you that the burden of how your family responds is not a burden that God wants you to carry alone. Keep in mind that Christ warned that discipleship for Christ would bring division within the family. He said, “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 shall be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36). Know that God understands what you are experiencing and wants you to let Him help you with that burden. We are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to consistently be “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” As you bring the burden of your family and their rejection to Him, He will give you a strength to bear that which you could not bear without Him.

Again, keep in mind the bottom line. Family relationships are important, but no relationship matters more than one’s relationship with Christ.

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