No new questions came in this week, so I’m repeating this post from a few years ago:
An anonymous reader asks, “Have you ever encountered skepticism from individuals raised with a different religion? How did you deal with it? I am going through this with my spouse and do not want to push him into anything, but I would love for him to join the kids and I in our faith.”
Great question, and one faced by numerous spouses through the years. Here’s my best take on what you can do:
I assume that by “a different religion” you actually mean a “different expression of Christianity”, like Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc., as opposed to a different religion, like Islam or Buddhism. (I am MUCH more familiar with the first than the second, although I suppose most of my suggestions would be similar).
The single-best advice I can give comes straight from God’s Word in 1Pet. 3:1-4, where we learn that your loving conduct in the home will do more to win your spouse than anything you might say to them!
Once you’ve ‘covered that base’ by sweet, loving, Christ-like behavior in front of them, if your spouse hasn’t already initiated the conversation about your faith by asking questions, I’d say it’s time for you to broach that subject. Here are my tips:
- Bathe this whole situation and your spouse in prayer! That should go without saying, but 2Cor. 4:4 makes it clear that the reason your spouse doesn’t believe is because the god of this world has blinded his/her eyes to the Gospel! That’s the real issue – not their background, culture, upbringing or anything else – they don’t believe because Satan has blinded them – so the answer is for you (and others you can enlist) to pray fervently and persistently for the Lord to open their eyes!
- Make sure your spouse is not in a defensive posture before you begin the conversation – in other words, look for a time when he/she is able and willing to talk, rather than during a heated discussion about something else, or when they are occupied with other pressing matters (whether live or on TV).
- it’s always best to answer their questions, instead of trying to force the conversation. This is the method that Jesus used consistently (study John 4:4-29 to see how He tactfully yet effectively led the Samaritan woman to truth)
- Beyond that, especially if you have a good marital relationship (meaning your spouse genuinely loves you and your children), then a gentle (not nagging, but loving) conversation in which you explain how important it is to you that he/she would at least attend church with you as a family, can be a great beginning! I’ve known of lots of unsaved spouses who started attending church to support their children’s participation in a holiday presentation or came to visit just because of their spouse’s invitation, only to eventually find that they enjoyed the services, felt drawn by the Presence of God, and gave their life to Christ!
I’m sure there are some folks reading this who won their spouse to the Lord despite dissimilar backgrounds: what would YOU add to this list? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section below.
Hope this helps! Now, what would YOU like to Ask the Pastor?
Don’t forget – this Sunday, June 4 is PENTECOST SUNDAY with special guest Steven Thompson at our Tinley Park campus & Robby Dawkins at our Hammond location. Hope to see you!