Faith: When Your Spouse/Child Does Not Believe
I am a Christian, by faith, therefore my approach to this topic is based on Biblical teachings. But the challenges or issues may apply to other belief systems as well.
Living with an unbelieving spouse can be challenging. Often, it means a marriage with different goals, driven by your faith and your spouse’s ignorance of the biblical truths that you aspire to live by. These challenges can bring difficulties and stress in addition to the normal stress that marriages generally experience.
I grew up watching my maternal grandparents, who were of the same faith and belief, waking up their household (including us the grandchildren) every weekday at 5 am to have morning devotion as a family before starting the day’s chores.
This routine was smooth and stress free because my grandparents both believed. At the time, I didn’t really understand what I was doing or the importance of it but I followed the routine anyway.
So what should the spouse that is a believer do with their unbelieving spouse?
I Corinthians 13 : 7 shows us the way:
Love bears all things, even an unbelieving spouse.
The point here is that because they had the same belief system, there was no stress or challenges as far this religious routine was concerned.
What Does Scripture Say?
It is not an easy task, but requires complete dependence on the Lord for wisdom. Years ago I met a couple in a situation. The wife was a strong believer and very eager to delve more into the word of God but the husband did not believe. This brought a lot of stress and challenges into the marriage.
This lady gave herself to persistent prayer and committed her marriage and spouse to the Lord in prayer. She had prayer partners who helped her and eventually God used one of them to lead her husband to Christ.
It is clear that prayer is the key to resolving this kind of situation.
I have identified a few points in the word of God that will help the believing spouse to cope with an unbelieving spouse:
- Commit yourself to praying for God’s word to penetrate your spouse’s heart. Pray that God will use you as an instrument in your spouse’s understanding of God. (Phil. 4:6-7)
- Be patient and show grace to your spouse. The word of God says in Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone”.
- Be the hands and feet of Christ in your marriage. Commit to serving your spouse out of love and respect. (Ephesians 2:10)
- Let your heart and motives be pure towards your spouse. Let your relationship with Christ reflect in how you relate to your spouse. Be sensitive to the needs of your spouse. (Phil. 4: 8-9)
- Be gentle and respectful towards your spouse and remember that God is the One who is at work in you and your spouse. (1 Peter 3 : 1-6)
- Do not judge your spouse. Allow God to work on them. (Phil. 2 : 13)
CHILDREN & FAITH
When it comes to an unbelieving child, a lot of parents, as they watch their child grow older, entertain fear regarding their salvation.
This fear may arise because the child starts to act up or develops a flair for lying or experimenting with alcohol or even drugs.
The parent begins to worry and wonder: Is my child saved?
Will my child ever be saved? Didn’t I take them to church? Didn’t I teach them right from wrong? Did I fail as a parent? Why is my child rebellious if I raised them in a good home?
If you can identify with these fears over a child, I want you to know that you are not alone. Know that salvation is from the Lord. It is not a result of good or bad parenting.
Do not beat yourself up for your imaginary failure as a parent. Persevere in prayer for your child’s salvation. Continue loving and interceding for your child while you anchor your hope in God. Try to keep a good relationship with your child and always keep the communication lines open. Be diligent in prayer.
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