Becoming or being a Christian against the wishes of someone in authority over us, is a really important question to think about and have an answer for, as this is happening more and more in a world where God, the Christian God, is being rejected by people all over the world.
Whom to obey?
God is the Creator of all things. He still has control over all things. Every person on the face of this earth has been created by Him and for Him. He desires that all of us will know Him on a personal level. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). So, first and foremost, we must obey Him.
When those who have authority over us forbid us to follow Him because they don’t know Him, or because their tradition forbids it, you have to decide who you are going to obey.
We must obey God rather than men
In The New Testament, after Jesus had died, risen again and returned to heaven, His disciples began to tell the good news of Jesus to everyone, and encouraged people to believe in Him. At the time the religious leaders were furious and tried to stamp out the belief that Jesus was God by persecuting the disciples.
After one incident where they had been arrested and told by the leaders that they must stop speaking about Jesus, their reply was, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Their first loyalty was to God and their second loyalty to man. They realized that when the two clashed or disagreed, they must always choose God.
How should I live then?
Having said that we must obey God first, we should remember that all in authority over us are put there by God Himself. Romans 13:1 explains: “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”
Show respect: we are always to respect those with authority over us. If we are going to believe in God against their will,
- you could respectfully tell them that you must obey God.
- if you realize that this may endanger your life, then quietly follow God and ask for his wisdom about who to tell and how you should live.
- live out the Christian life in front of those in authority showing respect, obedience, love, helpfulness, patience, joy, peace and pray that they may see your life has changed.
- pray continually for them.
- When you have the opportunity to move out from under their authority, ie by marriage, leaving home, or coming of age, then you will be able to declare your faith openly.
Can I be a Christian if my parents, or those in authority over me forbid me to?
The answer is clearly yes, but in such a way as to bring those in authority over you closer to God themselves.
Do not shout, be argumentative, or look down on them for their decisions. God made them and created them too and His desire is that they will come to know Him. Maybe God wants you to be the person to help them see that. So be wise in all you say and do.