Hey Jack,How do you honour ...

Jessie asked:

Hey Jack,

How do you honour your parents who do not want you to go and do missions, but still follow the call God has placed on your life.

Thanks,

Jessie

Jack Answered:

I congratulate you for wanting to honor your parents, Jessie, but also applaud you for your desire to follow the Lord’s leading toward missions. You are not the first to struggle with this dilemma, and the resolution is never an easy one. There are many variables to be considered: your age, your dependence upon your parents, the level of mutual confidence, antecedents (former experiences), and the situation you are facing. 

Since we can’t sit down and explore these important aspects, here are some general suggestions:

  1. Listen carefully to what your parents say. They know you and undoubtedly love you and want the best for you. Try to understand where they are coming from. Show them that you are listening carefully to them and respect their love for you, though you may have different values from theirs. Do some careful thinking about your values, what they are, what you base them on, and the source of your desire to be a missionary and why this is not only important to you but a worthy way to spend your life. Find out the foundational reason for their not supporting your vision. They may want you to have more education. They may be concerned about your security. They may also have selfish reasons (“We can’t live without you; how can you do this to us?”). They may feel you are “wasting” the investment they made in your education. They may not be believers and thus can’t understand your religious “fanaticism”.
  2. Talk to your pastor or a mature adult Christian, especially one who knows both you and your parents, and explain the situation and ask their advice.
  3. Talk to the Lord about the situation. Read the Scriptures daily and ask the Lord to give you wisdom and guidance. We learn in Proverbs 21:1 that "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." God is able to bring His influence to bear on those who are in positions of authority, such as your parents.
  4. If your parents want you to do something that is clearly against your understanding of Scriptural morals, you can't obey them. You have to "serve God rather than man." However, if it is a matter of timing (you feel it is God's will for you to participate in some event or make a life choice of a career, etc.) you may find the Lord telling you to be submissive to them, at least for now. (Note Jesus' example, before he began His public ministry: "He went down to Nazareth with [his parents] and was obedient to them" (Luke 2:49). 
  5. However, the moment may come after an appropriate interval of time when you feel you need to go off on your own even if your parents won't allow you to do what you feel the Lord is calling you to. Jesus did say that we are to love Him more than family. But I wouldn't take this step without the counsel and support of several mature Christian friends and a firm conviction from the Lord. 

Your situation is a painful one. Put all the details before the Lord, and as you wait patiently He will guide you. It's His promise.

Jack

"If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him" (James 1:5)

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