Living with African parents is one thing but living with African parents who have a different belief from yours is a different ball game entirely.
My personal experience with parents who have different beliefs from mine…
I am a young girl in my early twenties who’s currently living with such parents. That’s a lot of drama, I tell you. Unfortunately, the African society has already drawn the line for people within my demographic. I am not expected to have or speak an opinion that conflicts with those of my elders. One of such is my spiritual beliefs. Sometimes, it gets so tough that I cry.
Make no mistake, my parents are believers and I know they love God and their local church, which happens to be the root of the many beliefs they hold so dear. Beliefs I do not completely agree with.
What it did to me…
My brother and I were raised with these beliefs but upon leaving home for the university, I found myself in a different environment where young people are being taught to follow God’s plan for their lives. I believe God started to get specific with areas of my life like asking me to change my local church.
After finding the church to attend, I informed my parents and of course, but it didn’t go down well with them. I was banned from attending my church.
My inability to attend my church took a toll on my mental health and my relationship with God. I began to worry and have anxiety and attacks. It felt like I was lagging behind in God’s plan and purposes for my life, especially as I was convinced God led me to change church. There were times I doubted if I really heard God. I thought if God led me, it should come easy. My heart was full of questions like:
“God, why me?”
“How long will this last?”
“Didn’t I hear you right?”
“God, where do I go from here?”
I couldn’t pray or study my Bible God due to the state of my emotions. I felt defeated and alone.
In the midst of all that, I learnt a few things about how to handle parents with different beliefs from yours.
Do not let the situation make you disbelieve God's word. Be encouraged!Your conviction is like a fire that needs to be constantly fanned Click To Tweet
I’d be sharing them below, hopefully they will strengthen you.
Many times we forget that our parents are still God’s children and that He died for them. God loves them regardless of how they treat you. Pray for them if they have wrong beliefs. It works two things – it strengthens your conviction about what God has told you and it helps you love them.
2) Respect Them
Everyone knows how much respect means to the average African parent. Disrespecting them is counterproductive and wrong. Respect them but have boundaries too, don’t do things that Jesus wouldn’t approve of, and God wouldn’t be glorified in. (Ephesians 6:2)
When having difficult conversations with them, don’t raise your voice. If it gets unbearable you can end it by saying:
“Sir/Ma, I’m sorry but I don’t think I can continue to have this conversation now. I’m not handling it very well nor am I honouring you as I should. We can visit this when I’m in a better state of mind. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.”
This way, you are respecting them but maintaining your stance.
3) Buy your Parents Books and Devotionals that Teach the Right Doctrine:
I once read the testimony of a man who bought a book by his pastor for his mother. The book helped her in understanding Bible doctrine and opened the door for a beautiful conversation.
If you have parents like mine who use devotionals for their daily devotion, you could buy them devotionals that teach the right doctrine and watch the seed of God’s word grow in their heart.
4) Build your Spiritual Convictions
Apostle Paul said “having done all to stand, stand therefore!” (Ephesians 6:13-14) Here I am, also giving you the same admonishment. You cannot afford to be discouraged at this time. I know you feel like giving up. Sometimes, you feel like you didn’t even hear God clearly at first. No! Do not let the situation make you disbelieve God’s word. Be encouraged!
Your conviction is like a fire that needs to be constantly fanned. Be intentional about it.
5) Be Patient
Finally, don’t be condescending in your attitude towards them. The end goal is to show them a better understanding of the scriptures and not to prove superiority in knowledge.
Having parents of opposing beliefs can be demanding and tricky, especially if you live with them. Many times there is the temptation to feel like you are alone. There are many Christians battling with this same challenge. Be encouraged.
God is with you. He sees your pain and hears your prayers. His plans for you haven’t changed. Have this assurance at all times.
I am also in my waiting season. My parents have not permitted me to go to the church God laid upon my heart but I know it’s just a matter of time. I choose to live by faith and encourage myself in Him. If He has said it, then He will do it.
I love you and I’m rooting for you. You’ve got this!
Did you find this helpful? You can also read: Are You In Conflict With Your Parents? Read this or How to Handle Conflicts With Parents as a Christian
Written by: Olamide Shalom