Parents think im heretic

Hi guys, i was just so confused and sad when my parents think im being “heretic” or in a step to “get to know all” when im now new into apologetics.
I was living in a conservative christian (Protestant, or bethel, i dont really care but that’s what my mom said about our denominations. I dont even think she understands any difference as well because she cant explain why are we holing that beliefs.)
In my country, apologetics isn’t really much known, and fortunately i know about this like few months ago from my international friend who came in the same church that im attending for a bible study
He introduced me to Ravi and since that day i begin to get thrist more and more about the bible and God, because all this time i was looking for some explanation about faith and want to talk to someone who could speak it in both layman language and scholars language, just like apologetics realm.
I begin to read books, asking questions that i bury in the past about bible and getting answers and im so happy i could know God deeper and making everything much clearer.

But my parent, especially mom, she begin to see me as a “want to know every secret” that what she said.
She even quote Romans 12:3,16 that say “think highly” to rebuke me for not thinking too high on everything and why should i even questioning deep questions about the bible.
She said “you shouldn’t asking every secret because only God knows that! What you need to do is just tead the Word and make change on your life. Thats it! Why are you trying to probe everything that you shouldn’t know? Also you dont need to debate anyone just because you know some answers (i told her i could explain plainly to some of my atheist friends online about Christ)”

While that comes out because i just being honest with her saying “mom im now trying to makes sense in my head what the Trinity is. I know i have one God but sometimes i cant explain to myself whY i have three gods. I also wonder why Jesus need to come as a hero like he is having hero complex, if He know that we are all gonna go through this (i found this answer on Vince & Jo podcast Ask Away, thankfully)”

But realy, having this kind of response from my own parent is irritating.
And this happens often, just this morning i got her preaching on me on 1 Thessalonians 5:21, she say “Look! You need to filter everything! Nor everyone you hear and read is saying the right thing! They may be good but they may have come motives behind!”
(I was the only one who likes to listen to all RZIM podcast, and all was in english, a language that my fam not really familiar with, and she know that, because usually i play it while im cooking. When mom come, often she suddenly turn on the TV and lay it loudly so i need to stop the podcast. Also because of it i like to read more applogetics books, and since my mom questioned what kind of books i bought, and even questioning what kind of book is the apologetics study bible is… she think its an interpretation book (she never had any idea what a study bible is), so i downloaded some ebooks so i could read it on my phone. Still, she peeks on what im reading :sob: )

Sometimes i think why should im being “alone” on this, and why i keep receiving rejection, and am i doing something wrong?
I have some atheist friend and with apologetics i could understand better on how i could speak softly to them without aggresively making them to be a christian, i found it helpful but i don’t understand why i should keep receive rejection from my own family, and sometimes i was asking myself should i hide all my books and bible from them? Just to make them feel secure about me? I dont want them think the apologetics guys are just the guys who likes to debate :’(

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Hi Michelle,

Thank you for letting us into a little bit of your story. My heart hurts for you and the situation you are in. I am so sorry that your desire to know the Lord better seems to be a point of contention within your family. I am praying for you and your family as I type this.

A few things:

  • Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 <— I know this may seem super difficult in this situation but God will honor your efforts to honor your parents. Honoring your parents will look differently in different situations as you grow and mature. Ask the Lord what honoring them looks like in this situation and be attentive to what the Holy Spirit may be speaking to your heart. Remember, you have not been placed in your family by accident. God foresaw these moments with your parents before you were born and is asking you to steward them well. This is not a surprise to Him–may He draw all of you closer to Himself through these circumstances

  • Ravi said “love is the greatest apologetic”…apart from loving the Lord, we are called to love our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31). 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 reminds us that without love, we cannot be effective despite all the knowledge, training, and skills we may posses. How can you love your parents during this time? What if instead of seeking to win an argument, you sought to love? In my own experience, sometimes this has meant that I needed to lay down my desire to “be right” or to “win” and instead ask the Lord how I might love as He does.

  • In your personal time with the Lord, consider praying this: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24. <-- He knows this situation is tense; ask him how you might steward it with open hands. As we go through the sanctification process, our heart motives will inevitably be tainted by our sinful nature and we must constantly ask the Lord to show us where our motives do not align with His. Love (and consequently apologetics) takes humility. As we seek Jesus on this life-adventure, we’ll constantly be finding areas in which He is asking us to trust Him.

  • Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath” and I’m sure you are aware of the admonition for us to give an answer for our hope “with gentleness and respect” in 1 Peter 3:15. Each person we interact with will require a different approach. Sometimes it seems like it’s harder with family because we know how to push each others’ buttons and we have a long history together. We also hold them very close and the thought that we might be being rejected hurts deeply. May Jesus guide us to be patient peacemakers within our families.

  • Lastly, is there any way you might invite your parents into this journey with you? Are there any topics that they find interesting? Would they be willing to do a family study together?

You are never alone, Michelle. May you grow confidently and courageously into the person God is calling you to be. May He grant you patience, humility, and discernment in the process as you learn to love as he does. May your parents be honored by how you respond and speak of them and may your family grow closer to one another in this process.

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Hi, @shellycherie_cmd! Reading your story just now, and I am moved by your desire to understand more of God and the nature of life. I also find it interesting that, in your mother’s mind, there seems to be something scary or wrong about seeking understanding. Is there something specific that she believes you “shouldn’t” know? She mentioned “secrets”. I do believe that there are mysteries in life that perhaps we will never be able to understand, but it does not mean that it is necessarily wrong to wrestle with it. It’s almost like she seeking to protect you from something. I wonder if you could (if you haven’t already) have a conversation (or perhaps several) and try to understand what is driving her own view?

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Hi @shellycherie_cmd I’m so sorry to hear things feel so tough right now. I just had a couple of thoughts as I read your question, and they really line up with what @RebekahD and @KMac have already said.

You mentioned,

I think this is a brilliant and noble goal, and growing in your understanding of apologetics is a great means to achieve this. However, given your personal situation, I wondered whether you have a chance to develop your apologetics skills closer to home, with your own family first.

I really like what Rebekah said here. In demonstration of love to your parents in these difficult conversations, remove your own sense of having to give an answer, and instead ask them your own questions like
-what do you think?
-why do you think that?
-have you always believed that?
It might get some different conversations going, so that it’s not just your parents scrutinising what you’re reading and studying. And of course, by maintaining love and respect towards them, you will be a great witness to the love of Jesus in your heart. As you grow in Biblical understanding, they will see your faithfulness to them and this will be a great testimony.

I pray that you will know God’s strengthening and comfort as you find His wisdom in handling this situation.

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@shellycherie_cmd Michelle I love your post. You have great spirit and a heart of gold. We can use more Indonesian metalheads like you!

@RebekahD, @KMac, and @artownsend have made some great points. Your parents seem insecure about digging deep into theological matters. Can you give some more cultural and religious background for your question? Do you have any ideas as to why they feel insecure?

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Thankyou for this reply!
This strenghten me and reminding me too keep staying in ground and roothed in God’s world.

I somehow also feel apologetics is good as a tool for mind, but it could also elicit debate which i never want to
So even for me to start doing it, it seems a bit scary. I dont wanna end up in debate and confronting anyone. I also doesn’t want to struggle my own mind for questioning the Word (doubting).

I try to ask questions actually
To my mom
I was sincerely asking on some passages that i don’t understand, thinkin maybe she could give suggestions. But i found out she couldn’t answer anything…
So thats why i start reading bible commentary and study bible, trying to have the answer and understand it in the bigger picture.
Some time when we came to a passage and my mom asking, and i know the answer because I’ve learned it, i share it with her. But her response was like “well, maybe it is true maybe it is not. you cant boast of knowledge. God reveals everything you need to know.”
I mean, yes, Ofcourse… but i just wanna share what i got and nothing comes in my mind to boast the knowledge. If i know some history behind the passage, i try to tell then so they could connect the dots by themselves so i wont be seen as “teachy” but still, i think some sentiments going in
On some occasions i choose to remain silent and wait for another time… (@KMac maybe i could answer your question here as well)

Again,
Thankyou for all the reminders
It really means a lot for me💗

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Yes yes thankyou!!!

I will try to do my best to engage with them
Family is such a sensitive part… even more in parent-child approach :sweat_smile:
Most of time i feel like if the truth gonna offends someone, i would choose to remain silent. Or if i found some scientific answer related to a passage, i would stay silent because it is not a good approach
I would answer if they asked

It is kinda hard because sometimes i wanna let them know too, and it is good, but if by sharing ideas i would get an argument, i choose to be silent…
Kinda dillema tho😂 but thanks, as you mentioned, i will keep asking God to help me to do the apologetics starting from my family. I also doesn’t want to have a weak mind in defending the faith.
In this religious country things like atheism or scientific-religious is not common so i dont think my fam would have a problem, but if one day they had it, i don’t wanna have them be silent about it. I wanna help, the best i could.

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Eh? Did i mention im a metalhead? :rofl:
But yes i am and i pls pray for me too so i could keep spreading the light on this society! Spreading Jesus!! They all need to know!!:laughing::partying_face:

Oh
Yes… we were converted from Catholics (and i still struggle to talk with some of my Catholics friends because they claim as a protestant i ripped out some books of the bible​:rofl::rofl::rofl: and other things lol)
My mom was a devoted Catholics when she married my dad. About 15 years ago she converted, and 10 years ago me and my sister.
My dad is a Protestant from his childhood but he doesn’t really care about religion. He marry my mom because they both just believe in “no divorce” marriage in Catholics and Christian.

If i raise theological questions, none could answer.
If i came back with answers from bible commentary or from some pastor sermons, they reject it and doubting it😅 idk why…
Sometimes when i ask they just say “i dont know” and then end of discussion.

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Yes, Michelle, you mentioned that you are a metalhead in your introductory post! I try to do my detective work :mag:. That you live in Indonesia doubles the fun!

It is interesting that your mom grew up Catholic. I have friends who joke that they are recovering Catholics. My wife’s family is heavily Catholic. My wife and friends have talked about how they were not encouraged to think for themselves. They went to Mass and did their catechism, but they did not read the Bible for themselves. Their faith was spoon-fed to them. Ex-communication is a very powerful threat. Is it possible that your mom is afraid to explore ideas that may conflict with her Catholic upbringing because of these factors? I know that your dad grew up Protestant, but could he have experienced similar things? Could they both also be afraid of having a potentially divisive difference with you? It sounds like you love them and they love you.

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I’m so glad it encouraged you, Michelle! I am mutually encouraged by your desire to know the Lord better and the initiative you are taking to explore Him further.

You are so correct in that apologetics is a good tool for the mind and can help us thoughtfully engage with others. When we come to the table with prideful motivations, we can definitely lose sight of the ultimate goal of loving people. I don’t think you should be afraid of “debate” though as God does call us to stand firm in the truth and will use us to reveal those to others. We just constantly need to check our heart motives when engaged in such discussions.

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
~‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1:5‬

Like Brendan said, it’s clear that you and your parents love each other and I think you are on the right track. Continue to seek the Lord for yourself and invite your family into the journey. Like you said, engage them in the conversation without being “teachy” and genuinely seek to understand their point of view. As your parents are your God-given authority in this season of your life, they probably have life experiences and opinions that will be helpful to you down the road.

What does your sister think about all of this? Can she be invited in as well?

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@shellycherie_cmd I am highlighting this excerpt from Rebekah’s post because it really hits home for me. I have had many experiences in which I said all the wrong things but my “victims” saw that my heart was right! Genuine love truly does overcome many errors. If you speak to your parents with a truly humble and loving heart, then they will feel your love for them no matter how unpolished your words. I see your warm character in your writing. Let it glow!

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