Families are undoubtedly one of God’s greatest blessings, but they can also pose some of the greatest challenges in our lives. One of those challenges occurs when family members don’t understand our love for the Lord, and perhaps even mock our beliefs and devotion to God. Mocking from family members can be very frustrating and even painful to endure– a real testing of your faith. Viewing the mocking as a testing of your faith and an opportunity for you to have God’s character formed in you can help you to endure—and even rejoice in– the mocking. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
What are some things that can help you to endure the mocking of family members?
- Pray that God will give you His heart to love them as He loves you (John 13:34). God placed you in your family for a reason. He loves and died for each member of your family and it is His desire that ‘all should be saved and come to the knowledge of Him’. (1st Timothy 2:4) He longs to use you as an instrument of His grace in your family member’s life. Ask God to give you a revelation of how deep His love is for the family member(s) who mocks you. Love them where they are, without expecting them to act the way you want them to. Remember, Jesus died for you while you were a sinner; He didn’t wait to die for you until you had it all together. (Romans 5:8) He is patient and long-suffering with you, and He asks you and equips you to be patient and loving with those in your life who sometimes act ‘unlovable’.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus and the cross! When you are suffering from the insults, remember that Jesus knows what it feels like to be misunderstood and rejected. Not only by outsiders, but also by those in his home town and family members. (Mark 6:1-6) (Mark 3:20-21) When you feel overwhelmed and defeated, ask Him to give you the same strength that He had when He endured the scourging, the mocking, the humiliation, as well as the physical pain of the cross. (Hebrews 12:3)
- Make sure to be ‘prayed up’ before you get together with or make phone calls to them. Family members know best which buttons to push so it’s easy to lose control of your emotions. It’s important that you ask God 'to search your heart’ to see if there are sins you need to confess to Him and/or to the family member. Your sins may be contributing to the mocking, or leading you to respond to the mocking in an ungodly way (Psalm 139:23). Some of those sins may include: pride, selfishness, anger, lack of love for your family member, wanting your family member’s approval more than wanting to please God, and loving the family member more than loving God. Ask Jesus to fill you with His will and emotions so that His life will flow through you—which is the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Ask God to give you the ability to be like Jesus who remained silent and did not retaliate when He was mocked; He knew He could entrust His life to His Heavenly Father. (1st Peter 2:23) Trust God to be able to 'judge between you’ and the one mocking you. (1st Samuel 24:12) And if you ‘lose your cool’ and respond in an unloving way, humble yourself, go to the person and apologize. “A kind word turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1)
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment in all of your dealings with your family member(s). There may be times when the Holy Spirit clearly leads you to defend your faith and other times when He leads you to remain silent. Recognize that you are not responsible for the salvation of the person…only the Father can draw them (John 6:44). However, God does long for you to represent the truth of Who He is and His heart of love for your family member. Ask the Lord to make you aware of opportunities to share the truth of the gospel with your family, and to always do so in a spirit of love and respect for the person. (Ephesians 4:15) Look for ways to tangibly demonstrate God’s sacrificial love and His humble heart by serving your family member(s). (John 13:13-17)
- If you find that their mocking is causing you to doubt God’s Word and negatively impact your relationship with Jesus, you may need to limit the amount of time you spend with them or even refrain from contact with them for a period of time. God has given us families as a tremendous gift, but we must always remember that He is the Giver of Every Gift and we are to love Him above all, even our families!(Matthew 10:37)
Written by JVG