Monday, April 13, 2009

Saving Your Parents

I got a good question from someone at Cedarbrook who is struggling with the difference between their faith and the faith of their parents who are part of a very very traditional church with a strong ethnic background. Their parents are aging and they felt the burden of "saving" them before they die. They were looking to me for some advice. After reading my tips, they wrote back that it helped so I pass them on to you as well. This is what I wrote ...

I appreciate your concerns. Unfortunately, I don't have any great thoughts or solutions. Here are some things I'll share though...
- don't assume that they aren't saved. They may not see God the way you do but thankfully we aren't saved by our great theology but by the grace of God in Christ.
- try to appreciate the strong cultural pull that they are under. It goes back centuries. Try to honor that as much as you can without compromising what you believe.
- love your parents for who they are. Don't fight with them. Go out of your way to respect and honor them. Show interest in their traditions and rituals even though you don't want to follow them.
- when appropriate...and if they will listen...share about your faith from your perspective without making them feel like they are wrong or that you are trying to change them. Let them know how much you respect what they believe and how much you love God, even though it's not expressed in their traditional ways.

I think parents from strong cultures tend to fear two things...
1. WE are the ones going to hell
2. we have rejected THEM

So, with that in mind, try to let them know that you haven't rejected either God or them.

I hope this helps. I wish there was something more concrete I could tell you.