Unbelieving Family, help?

I haven’t been saved for that long and I’m discovering all kinds of new issues I never even thought about before. This particular issue I like to think of as the elephant in the room. How do I deal with the issue of unbelieving family members?

We sit around the living room discussing temporary worldly things that don’t really matter and I just feel like I’m going to implode thinking ‘where are you going to spend eternity?!’ Whenever I try to direct the conversation to God or Jesus my family just immediately dismiss the thought and bring up another distraction in life to talk about and I’m finding the elephant in the room really difficult to ignore. I don’t understand why God’s chosen to reveal himself to me but not my family. I love my family so much and I just can’t see how I would be happy in heaven knowing my family members are in hell, its as if the devil is trying to get to me through my family.

How do I get them to acknowledge and address the elephant in the room? (It might as well be the family pet!) How do I show them the light I have received? I can’t be the only Christian with this problem, so if anyone has any advise I would be so grateful to hear it. Please help?


What do YOU think?



  1. Carmen Cortes says:

    Thanks to all my brothers and sisters in the faith for encouragement and prayers in the face of adversity. I can only say that I am most fortunate to be in the employ of the God of all times who saved my heart for the greatest of tasks. This is the most gratifying truth of my life and pray that it may always be so. May the God of all faithfulness ever be with all who love the truth. Agape always.

  2. Joshua Ingram says:

    Just a couple of points here. This is a similar situation for me as well. I would assume that it is common for people who are saved that were not raised in the church. The vast majority of my family do not walk with the Lord and do not show evidence of being born again, and I have been saved for about 12 years now.

    Some things the Lord has taught me. One, we cannot save anyone. It is not in our power to cause those who are still dead in their tresspasses and sins (Eph. 2) to live again. Salvation is a miracle wrought by God, through the preaching of the Word at the discretion of the Holy Spirit (John 3). It is not dependant on our persuasiveness or ability, but on God shinning light into their hearts and causing them to see (2nd Cor. 4). THIS IS HIS WORK and He does it as it pleases Him.

    So, in light of this understanding, what is our obligation? It has been stated abundantly and wisely in the preceeding posts. PRAY, PRAY, and PRAY! And watch for opportunities to speak the Words of life into their life. KNOW your Scriptures and when God opens a door for you to speak truth into their lives, do so. Gently and not in a false idea of superiority. We too were blind once like they are. Be patient, loving and kind in your speech.

    Secondly, remind yourself of the promise given to the jailer in the Book of Acts. He was told, “You AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD will be saved.” Trust God. He has saved you and placed you where you are for a reason. Trust that He has given you this field to work in and trust that His Word does not return void.

    Thirdly, regarding eternity, IF they end up in hell, trust that God will be able to make it tolerable and sensible for you. His glory is of the uttmost importance. When we know Him fully, we will see everything (including the damnation of some) as a righteous and holy act made to bring Him glory. Trust Him.

    In conclussion, pray, study the Scriptures, live a holy life and watch for opportunities. Listen to sermons by men who speak the whole Biblical council in wisdom and truth (Pastor John Piper, C.H Spurgeon, Pastor Paul Washer, etc.), and trust the Lord while not leaning on your own understanding. That is how I deal with my family being lost. Amen?

  3. I know that this is an old post but I want to add a comment in case any Christians with the same issues browse this page. First of all – Romans 8 teaches us that all things work for our advantage who are in Christ. As men and women we are naturally impatient but we are to be long suffering! The means having patience with endurance…anyone in the above situation will know what this means.

    This does a number of things for any Christian:

    1. It builds our faith in the Lord – we have to lean on Him alone in these battles through prayer, reading His word and fellowship with other Christians.

    2. It sanctifies us – no more can we just start arguing with our spouse and family, spouting off what we use to say to them…now we have to be Christ like and love them, we have to be calm, forgiving and humble

    What you are experiencing is – The furnace of earth. God uses this to remove the dross from our lives so that we become pure and spiritual – this is *all* part of your sanctification process.

    James 1:2-4

    My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

    1 Peter 1:5-9 (Talking of believers)

    Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through many different temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

    What does the bible say about The Word. The living word is Jesus Christ. John 1 – In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God – Also read revelation chapter 19:13 where another name of Jesus Christ is “The Word of God”. So then Jesus Christ is the word…But a name for those who follow Jesus is “His Bride”. What does the bible say about those who are the wife of the groom…They become one…when Jesus taught of marriage in Mark 10:8 he said

    “And the two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh.”

    This is also confirmed in the bible when it says in 1 corinthians 12:27 “Now all of you are the body of Christ, and members with a purpose.”

    So then we are members of the word of God because Jesus Christ is “the Word of God”…

    Why was I so particular in making this clear…Now you are prepared to read Psalm 12

    Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shall keep them, O LORD, thou shall preserve them from this generation for ever.

    This psalm is not only speaking of the written word but also the living word and the living word is Christ and we are the body of Christ – The church not built with bricks and mortar but with living stones…that is us…we are the living stones.

    1 Peter 2:5 All of you also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

    Because His word is in us which makes us into the new creation then as Jesus also suffered in this world…so must we suffer tribulation and be tried in our faith…but the outcome is the following…I have taken a some verses and put them together…I have not removed from their meaning and I have left the verse numbers in for you to read.

    [Mat 11:28-30] Come unto me, all of you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [Isaiah 30:15] For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: [1 Peter 3:4] …let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

    As Psalm 12 says – the words of the Lord are tried in a furnace of earth…this is for our purification and our sanctification (which leads us to the above)…what better way to try and purify us can you think than to take believers and make them live with unbelievers…it becomes a very hot fire. Patiently endure this and it will have a good work in your soul.

    There are going to be times that the devil will work through the unbelievers to bring you to despair…but you are to love them and be patient…and as the above says if you do separate then work towards being re-united with each other.

    1 corinthians 7:10-11 And unto the married I command, not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

    The following verses teach us that the believer brings sanctification into the household (you are the light of the house…giving the light of Jesus Christ)

    1 corinthians 7:12-14 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother has a wife that does not believe, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away (do not divorce her). And the woman which has an husband that does not believe, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy

    Sometimes your unbelieving spouse may leave you (you are not to leave them!). If this happens and you cannot reconcile your differences (see 1 cor 7:10-11) then the following is guidance

    1 corinthians 7:15-16 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you shall save thy husband? or how do you know, O man, whether you shall save thy wife?

    In the above verse we can also draw out positives – The first is that the last sentence suggests that our presence through the light of Christ and the sanctification we bring is actually saving those individuals…because we are of Jesus Christ and they are in contact with us then they are being drawn…This also means that we are to be gentle, humble, forgiving, patience…(the fruits of the Spirit) – Your family will be drawn to Christ through the fruit of the Spirit which ultimately is “love your neighbour as yourself”…we are to lead them to the Lord…that means we should be in front of them (leading) by showing a meek and humble spirit which loves them…(if you want to get higher before God then you must get as low as you can before Him and humble ourselves…He does the lifting up)

    Now let me finish: DO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR FAITH. I mean, keep yourself holy and in the Lord and do not venture into worldly things, even when your spouse does…this will put pressure on you but you must rely on the Lord and trust in Him and His words…You must be – in fellowship, praying and reading His word and also singing to Him. Get a good reading plan going every day…here is a good one (http://pastorbrett.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/professor-horners-bible-reading-plan/) but lean on the Holy Spirit to teach you (1 john 2:27)

    One other question you asked…How will you cope in Heaven knowing that some of your loved ones are in Hell?

    There is only going to be peace and joy in heaven, you will not be dwelling on such things.

    God bless, and I hope this as helped.

  4. Roadrunner says:

    Thanks for the advise, I am going to be praying a lot, and trying to learn and get as close to God as I can. This way my family might notice the light shining within me and ask me about it and when they do I’ll have enough knowledge to inform them about Jesus.

    I’m going to keep trying and praying, while theres still time for them to know Jesus, and hopefully it won’t come to me being in heaven knowing my family members aren’t.

    • God_is_merciful says:

      I know this is an old post but for those of you who come across this….
      That’s the great news! They DON’T go to “hell”. Hell is a mistranslated word in the bible. We will all have to give an account of our actions and God will deal with is accordingly but he will NOT torture ANYONE in “hell” for eternity! That is a pagan belief. PLEASE people do your research!
      Here is a website I recommend: godsplanforall.com
      1 Timothy 4:9-11
      9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.
      “who is the Savior of ALL men, especially of those who believe”…not JUST the ones who believe.

  5. Timothy Luke says:



    Ditto the previous comments. "no man can come to me, except the Father in heaven draws him," tells us this is a spiritual thing.  1 Peter speaks of wive's winning their husbands to the Lord with their example. You also have another concern…

    "I just can’t see how I would be happy in heaven knowing my family members are in hell"


    That is a great question! In eternity, how can any of us be happy while knowing in our hearts that family members are currently suffering indescribable torments for eternity? How could we as a family get together to celebrate anything and look at the "empty chair" so-to-speak?  How do we answer for that?



  6. MelodyCat says:

    You cannot Bible Bash your family into wanting to hear and understand the Gospel.

    It is a spiritual battle. The first step as twoods09 has already recommended is prayer.

    The second is to pray that Jesus will change you from the inside to be more and more like Him until like Moses who spent time up with God on the Mountain he came down and GLOWED so much that the people of Israel asked Moses to wear a viel they couldn’t stand God’s glory that was in his face.

    So spend time reading God’s Word and pray that it will change YOU! Pray that you would be a witness, salt and light to your family. Pray God would give your family spiritual eyes & ears to be able to see and hear His Truth.

    My family are affected by my daily life. I get called Miss Goody Two Shoes. They even correct their own behaviour when I am around, like they say “I know what you are about to say that God doesn’t like it when I do this!”. My very presence challenges them I rarely have to say anything (after 30 years as a Christian that is a good thing because it means I have been living Jesus or the Bible before them). I can also say 3 of my family have also come to Christ.

    It is not your job to convert your family. It is only your responsibility to live as a good servant of God.

  7. twoods09 says:

    Prayer is your greatest weapon right now, but also how you live. Seek God with all your heart and be a reflection of He who lives inside you. Perhaps they will see how your life has changed and how you have the joy of the Lord and will begin to want what you have. I believe that it is good that you are trying to talk about Jesus around them. Keep it up, but remember that your greatest testimony will be how you live. How you live will open up the opportunities to share your faith with them. Blessings my sister!

    Your brother in Christ!


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