Hate Your Family More Than Christ?

This weekend has been one of the most troubling weekends I have had in a while.  The things that are happening are so new to me and I would say its a good thing in the sense that God is really working in my life.  If you asked me 3 years ago if I was a Christian I would probably have told you yes. If you asked me if I had been saved I would have told you no.  I know by now you are probably wondering how the heck I was calling myself a Christian if I have never been saved.  And all I can tell you is that some how I didn’t get taught that in order for me to be a Christian it would require me to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow Jesus (Matt 16:24).  It would also require me to hate my family more than Christ (Luke 14:26), it would require long suffering, it would require repentance– a renewed mind, it would require me to basically drop everything and leave people and places behind.  It could even mean that I’d face persecution (Rom 8:35). it could mean putting my life on the line.  And now I know this may sound like A LOT to ask of someone but it takes all of that and more to really call yourself a follower of Christ.

When I was 18 I met my husband, Melvin D. Burns during my freshmen year of college.  He was far different from any other guy I had ever met for the simple fact that he was an honest God fearing man.  I had not idea that someone like him would ever consider talking to a girl like me.  When I first started college I was eager and ready to do everything almost every college student expects to do which is party party party and drink like it no body’s business.  As a college student you are finally able to break out be grown up because your parents aren’t around to tell you what to do.  I didn’t have the best company either but I settled for people who I thought were most like me and who were tolerable for the most part especially when it came to  going out.  In more than one instance I found myself in what I would consider near death situations;  if you would consider getting in a car with a drunk driver twice near death situations.  I once ended up almost being stranded at an off campus party where pretty much everyone was drunk except little old me and a few other random people who were not at all willing to bring me back to campus to make my 2:00 a.m. curfew.  Through all of those situations God was definitely trying to tell me He didn’t want me there and He definitely was the only one who was looking out for me and my best interest.  I knew I was being called I just didn’t wanna listen.

There was one other person who was always looking out for me; Melvin.  I remember when I tried to approach him as I did every other guy I was interested in, well lets just say that didn’t work.  The more he and I got to know each other, the more I really wanted him to stay in my life.  It was as if God had used him to as a way to take me away from the people, things and places I was used to that caused me to sin.  Mel and I stayed friends for about 2 months and then we became a couple which made me very happy. Even though we were together and I knew that there was a lot that I was not going to do anymore I was sill struggling to get rid of bad habits and things that were not good for my faith in Christ.  I can honestly say that I have grown a lot more in my faith since then but I am still growing  which bring me to my next point.

Now in the beginning of his post I began to say that this weekend has been quite troubling.  Keeping in mind everything I just said try to understand where I’m going with this.  During your walk as a Christian you are often going to become distant from people and some of those people may be your family members.  I know I am suppose to love Christ more than my family and I am having a hard time trying not to step on people’s toes but I know we cannot keep living for the approval of people.  I want so badly for my family’s Christian faith become more real because right now I don’t see them growing in faith and they look more and more like the world than they do people of God.  I feel sometimes we have to get out of the way and let God work but I find that Istart to feel the need to stick around.  When I decide not to show up to certain family gatherings I start feeling like I am making a huge deal out of nothing.  I mean God calls us out of places and way from people all the time and that includes family but I almost tend to feel like I don’t have to dismiss them entirely.  I mean Jesus didn’t say ignore your family all together but at the same time I know we are not suppose to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Rom 12:9).  I have family members who do evil things constantly even after I have spoken to them about it and it bugs me because I want them to see that their sin is going to be the death of them(Rom 6:23) .  We are to be like Christ and for the majority of my family to consider themselves Christians its rare that you see them even trying to be Christ like and I  know I can’t be around that.

All in all my biggest prayer is that my family recognizes that I have changed and that I am now living for Christ. And also that they too see my Christian lifestyle lived out to the fullest and take from that and apply it to their own lives. I pray that God just uses me in that way.  My husband is always telling me not to be a part of any of the things my family members do and not because he is trying to control me because its my choice whether I decide to take part or not but I know it disappoints him when I make the choice to join with them anyways.  This weekend I was invited to my cousin’s 21st birthday dinner and today I was invited to breakfast at my cousin’s house.  Two problems are that I know my mom needs to change her ways and I shouldn’t sit and be around her all the time okaying her behavior and I know my cousin and her friends and I have nothing in common anymore. I just didn’t know how to tell either of them that I don’t want to be around them.  So I try to find excuses but that doesn’t make me feel good. I want them to know the truth which is simply that I just can’t be around the way I used to because we live so differently. I live for Christ and they seem to just be living just like the rest of the world. I love them dearly and I won’t ignore them but at the same time I won’ go against God.

My experience in a “Christian” Family

Before I start this note I would just like to say that these words are my own thoughts guided by the word od of God.  In no way am I trying to put myself above anyone else or “judge” anyone or hurt anyone. These are simply my thoughts that I felt like putting out there.  Comments are welcome but please remember my previous statements.  

 Since I’ve become a Christian I realize that there are some people and things in my life that I must rid myself of.  Now I know that sounds harsh especially concerning letting people go but its necessary.  Lately I have been faced with challenges when dealing with my family members some of whom profess to be Christians.  Over the past year I have come to realize that it is hard for me as a Christian to be around some of my family members.  Yes I am aware that you will not always get along well with everyone in your family but this is not so much the case here.  We look at sayings like a family that prays together stays together and in some sense its true. I look at my family and we all don’t even  attend church together for that matter. Only on special occasions like a First communion or a Christening. And to me thats kind of sad.  

  I grew up with my mom and grandmother and I can’t exactly say that they brought me up Christian. I mean no one is Christian by association but no one ever told me that.  One day I went to church with one of my family members and the pastor asked people to stand up if they weren’t saved and wanted to be or were ready to be.  I remember staying seated because I was not sure what to make of that.  There I was a teen at the time doing things that I know weren’t pleasing to God would still continue to do even if I was to just say ok I’m ready sign me up for the saving.  Either way I wasn’t going to lie and that family member asked me why I didn’t stand up and I said because I didn’t want to and they were almost shocked.  Believe it or not wanting is the word not needing.  You will be surprised at how many people think that being a Christian means you have to do this that and the third and I will tell you now that there is no zeal and no desire in needing or having to do something.  When You want to follow Christ and you desire God and want to know more about him and want to serve him its totally different then feeling like you have to. That is how you end up having a works based Christianity as opposed to a faith based Christianity and you can’t have on without the other.  You can’t pretend to have zeal for God and do a bunch of good moral things and think that you are doing the will of God and living out his purpose for you it just won’t work that way.  

  Now on that note I ran into issues like that one with another family member.  I remember going to church with another one of my family members and eveyone in the church was kneeling down praying and and my family member began to do the same.  I was kind of unure how to go about doing the same thing.  There I was on the floor with my head bowed down in a chair confused as to what I was suppose to pray about, how I as to go about starting a a prayer and left wondering is God even really gonna listen to someone like me.  It was rough especially because I truly didn’t even want to be there.  But I also had to sit and wonder why I was brought somewhere to do something I had no clue about. Sure I have been to a church serivce before where the pator prayed and we all bowed our heads but praying around a bunch of people with no idea what to say..awkwarrdd. lol Anyways you could imagine my discomfort.  I know most people would probably say “its just praying how hard can it be”. Well its not the praying thats hard its knowing what to pray about and and having sincerity while doing it and being lead by the holy spirit.  Now this family member maybe thouhgt “hey let me expose Tisha to something that she needs right now in a place that is good for her to be in.”  But you can’t just do that and think it will do something spiritually for everyone.

  In saying all this I also want to bring up something that may be a little touchy and might I add that a lot of family members are on facebook and at first it troubled me to write this because I wasn’t sure how to deliver it but I am letting the holy spirit lead me.  So anyhow the biggest thing that I have had to deal with is hiding my marriage from the majority if not all of my family.  I’m nervous just writing this because it will come as a shock to a lot of people but that is sort of the point in me putting this out there.  I have no reason to hide this and it was hurting me every single day that I kept it from everyone.  I got married last year (about 7 months ago) on June 13, 2012  Melvin D. Burns.  I know what most people think when they see so many young people getting married these days like “What’s the rush?” , “You have your whole lives ahead of you” , “You don’t know what your gwetting yourselves into” and so on and so forth but I was living in sin (fornication) and I am not promised to live another day and could have died in my sin and went straight to hell.  So I got married not because I wanted to live this romantic fairytale but because it would please God and because we were ready. We knew that this was God’s plan and all we did was follow through with it.  This is God’s marriage not ours and it brings me joy to know God chose me as my husband’s help meet.  So now that the cats out of the bag (so to speak) I know I will be getting asked a ton of questions and its ok I won’t lie or try and sugar coat the truth. It is what it is and it God’s will.  

  I also want to get something else off of my chest and like I said its not for anyone to take offense to. I have some family members who are living in straight up sin. Some of which as I said before claim to Christians.  Sometimes its like I want to shake them and tell them to wake up because by looking at their lifestyles you wouldn’t know they were Christians.  Anyone can put Christian under religious views on facebook or read the the bible or quote scripture but how do I actually know you are a Christian. And please do not say that “my realtionship with God is personal and no one else should have any say in that” line because honestly Christ isn’t a secret.  And I one got from one of my family members that I can’t come out and speak God’s truth to them or correct them because people will think that I am trying be “holyer than thou” and I don’t think its wrong for Christians to correct other professing Christians. James 5:20  says “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”   I love my family and one my greatest hopes and my prayer is that all of them who profess to be Christian would see that a lot of things they carry on with is not of Christ and that they repent and see God in all his Glory and turn away from the sin the some of them are knowingly in and for those who know not what they do then I pray that God just guides them to his truths.  

So if I don’t show up at your house for something or you invite me somewhere and I don’t go its not because I am trying to hurt you or make you feel bad but I do have to separate myself from certain people and especially people who are practicing sin knowingly.  A lot of you guys do things I just don’t partake in anymore and to be honest even if its not that its simply just me not wanting to dabble in bad conversations or be among people who just completely dismiss God all together.  I’m not saying that just because you aren’t a Christian I won’t hang out with you.  But I am saying that if you are into things that are detrimental to my faith I can’t roll wih you.  Like I said its not to be hartsh or mean or come off as if I am above everyone but I do need to give myself space away from certain people.  I love everyone and this is not meant to hurt anyone or make anyone feel any type of way these are just my thoughts and I hope you (family & friends) can understand. 

 

If you are reading this and you are someone who is struggling with your walk as Christian and you have a hard time to go separating yourself from people or places or things things just pray that God leads you to answer as to what he expects from you and also pray that he gives you the strength to let go of people or things that are going to take your focus off of Him.  Also to my family I love you and I am praying for you and don’t take any of this thr wrong way! 

 

A scripture I will leave you all with is matthew 10:34-39. Christ says 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 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’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[e] 37 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. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.