It was with great joy and gratitude to the Lord that I witnessed the baptism of my father recently. When I first got saved 23 years ago, I was the first believer in my family. My parents were of another faith and were really upset with me when I got water baptised. But I’m so glad they both gave their lives to the Lord and are water baptised.
Maybe some of us have been praying for years – and even decades – for our family’s salvation. Being amidst brokenness and sin at home, it can often seem like our prayers are not being answered. There were moments I felt this way. It was a long, tough journey for me and I learned some valuable lessons along the way.
A vital lesson is that God wasn’t just dealing with my family members, He was dealing with my own heart. The Lord led me through a process of repentance to root out my inferior, faulty beliefs and replaced them with truth. I had to repent for not trusting Him for my family’s salvation and not having faith that He can do something. We may even have to repent not honouring and loving our family members.
As part of the repentance, we may have to take tangible action to change our behaviour. Are there family members whom you need to ask forgiveness from and seek reconciliation with? How about having vulnerable conversations?
We need to talk through the tough things and communicate how we feel when certain things are said and done at home. Take time to find out what’s really on your family members’ hearts and not just talk about superficial things. Start to show love and concern in tangible ways though we may feel awkward. Our testimony at home will greatly change the moment we start speaking to our family in a different way.
Often, given the conflicts and dysfunction at home, we pray not from a place of faith but from wanting to be relieved of frustration and pain.
If we’re in a place of hopelessness, hurt, disappointment, unforgiveness or anger, we won’t be able to intercede from a place of faith – there won’t be a clear channel for God’s love to invade our families, especially if we’re the only believer at home.
Our family members can be in deep sin and bondage or may have hurt us terribly but, if we say someone else is the reason we’re not responding and behaving in a Christlike manner, then we’ve taken on a victimised and powerless mindset.
Taking ownership for your decisions – how you feel and respond to situations at home – is the only way to become faith-filled and empowered. We must seek God to heal our hearts so we can lay down every hurt, offence, and unforgiveness towards any family member.
When our hearts are healed, we’re restored to a place of hope, faith, love, and compassion. Then our prayers for our family will change, and so will the way we interact with – and talk to – them. As a result, we’ll be able to represent Jesus more accurately.
I believe our very presence around them will become intercession for their salvation as we constantly carry a burden in our hearts for them.
As we come to a place of faith and courage, we become confident of our walk with God when we’re with our unsaved loved ones. There may be times when we share the Gospel overtly, but we can demonstrate the reality of Jesus by praying for them when they’re unwell or need a miracle in their lives.
Don’t be afraid to display your faith in God before them. Share your church work, mission trips, things you see God do in others’ lives, and invite them to church.
The road to restoration, salvation, and deliverance often leads down the path of perseverance. A farmer does not enjoy the ploughing and sowing because it’s hard work. In fact, he sows in tears because he knows the toil will produce enjoyable seasons in future.
Without a vision of seeing our families come to the Lord, we’ll settle for surviving each day – instead of a planted field that eventually yields a plentiful harvest. However, we may have to sacrifice, persevere, and undergo painful moments for a brighter future.
Often, in dealing with family dysfunction and brokenness, we’ve to confront some painful things before circumstances improve. Stop and ask yourself what’s hindering your family from getting saved.
No matter where we’re at, we’ve an opportunity to take what we’re given and sow it. What you do today will be the reality tomorrow.
Maybe some envy families with two, three, even four generations of believers, and all we do is wish we had good spiritual heritage like them.
But the truth is – it’s not too late to start amassing spiritual heritage for your children and children’s children. Remember, the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, and it’s a Lamb for every household.