I am 19 years old. My mother has raised me as a Christian but my father is not really a believer. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 18 and was very involved in our youth group at my church. My dad tells me that just because certain things are in the Bible, it does not mean they are true.
I know he is wrong but there is always this uncomfortable distance between us. How can I convince him that he is wrong? Or is it better not to say much? I have told him I think he is wrong and he gets mad. I always stand up for the truth in God’s Word.
I don’t want my dad to end up in hell. He thinks that hell is a myth. Sometimes he talks about Jesus as if he believes in Him but then does not accept the Bible as truth. I attend a Christian college and I feel that the Lord may be calling me to be pastor. I don’t think my father will be too happy about that. I want to be true to the Lord and also not cause conflict with my father.
Thank you for writing. Your father is accountable to the Lord for what he believes, as we all are. Your concern for him is heartfelt. The best thing you can do, is continue to live your life as best you can, following godly principles. You are not causing this conflict. This is not about you.
The distance you feel is there because he rejects the very things that are so important to you and are truly life and death salvation issues. To his credit, he has not stopped you from attending a Christian college, so for that you should be very grateful.
It sounds like your father is confused like so many other people. Of course you would like him to understand that the Bible is God’s holy Word, but since he is not accepting this truth right now the very best thing you can do is pray for him. Many people have come to the Lord through intercessory prayer.
When someone is very closed to the Bible, the best thing we can do is faithfully hold that person up before the throne of God. Patience is required, but by doing this you will be actively and consistently doing the work of a prayer warrior. If you can think of yourself in that way, it will help you feel like something very significant is being done to help open your father’s eyes.
In some of my other responses I have suggested that sharing Bible prophecy is a pragmatic way to point-out-evidence for biblical truth. Sometimes even that is difficult when someone has a hardened heart and only wants to hear what they want to hear. Since your dad gets angry when you tell him he is wrong, it might be best to choose your words more carefully.
Instead of telling him he is wrong, if an opportunity arises you could point out prophecies that have been fulfilled. The reestablishment of the nation of Israel is a great example. Search out as many fulfilled prophecies as you can find in the Old Testament and document them.
Tom, it sounds like you are well-grounded in the Lord and have a great future ahead. If you feel the Lord is calling you to be a pastor, then everything will come together for you in that regard. By your good example, living your life true to God’s teachings, your father will see that you are very serious about your faith and there is a good chance that he may begin to look more carefully into why his son has made a choice to serve the Lord. You could be the very catalyst that the Lord will use to break his stubborn spirit.
I am so sorry that you have this conflict with your father but we serve a great and mighty God and our prayers are heard and answered. The Lord has given you what sounds like outstanding leadership abilities. We need great young men like you to lead others. Realize that there will be a “distance” between you and your father unless he comes to faith.
This has nothing to do with you, personally; so when it gets to a point where you might feel totally frustrated with the situation, know that your father’s rejection of the Bible is not a rejection of you.
By being kind and loving toward your father, you will be setting a good example of Christian love. Never take any attacks against the Word of God by him as an attack against you. And remember what Jesus said on the cross, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”
Your father is spiritually lost and does not realize the great danger he is in. This is a time to trust the Lord with all your heart and not lean unto your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Lord knows exactly what your father needs to bring him to faith. Keep praying and trusting and rely upon your heavenly father for guidance and strength. And dare to pray for great things, as did Elijah:
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:17-18).
God bless you!
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 15:16b).