Question:

I recently obeyed the gospel earlier this year. Prior to my conversion, I was a member of a Baptist denomination. My boyfriend studied with me about the truth. The more we studied and attended church services together, I quickly began to realize that denominations were wrong. Since my conversion, my family feels I am changing. I am growing spiritually, so obviously I will change. My family says my boyfriend does not care for me and he does not respect them. When they tell me this I simply ask them what has he done to disrespect me or them. They continue to give me the same answer: they say I'm just changing into a totally different person. Since my conversion, I have continued to love and appreciate my family and friends. I have also let them know that I will always stand for Christ, regardless of who is against me. So when they tell me I am changing for the worst, It just breaks my heart. I feel they are angry because they do not understand my conversion and they want to take their anger out on my boyfriend because he enlightened me to the truth. If that's the case, they are mad at God's word not my boyfriend.
What should I do? My family and friends are really a burden to me and my boyfriend.

Answer:

In discussing the cost of being a disciple, Jesus stated, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26). By this, Jesus is not saying we must literally hate our own families, but that our priorities must be clear. Compared to following Christ, all other relationships are a distant second. "For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:35-37).

Sadly, I've know a number of people who ran into difficulties because they chose to follow Christ instead of their parent's religion. A good friend of mine, who grew up Catholic was disinherited when she became a Christian. Her parents treated her as if she had died. She rarely saw her family and only got to speak to her mother when her mother was on her death bed. I knew a wonderful young man who grew up in Baptist home, but learn the truth from a friend in school when he was 14. His mother threw him out of her home, so he moved in with the family of his friend. It is so sad because in every way these people are fine godly Christians. Most people would love to have family members like them.

You pinpointed the problem correctly. They don't agree with what the Bible teaches in all aspects of their lives. You are changing, so that shows that it is possible to live as the Bible teaches -- but that makes them look bad. Like Noah, who condemned the world by simply entering the ark because the rest of the world refused to listen to what God said (Hebrews 11:7). Your family sees your improvements as a condemnation of their lack of improvement. They can't argue that you should be bad, so they blindly lash out against other, silly things.

There really isn't much you can do. The problem is on their end. Keep your eyes focused on where you are going and try not to let others drag you down. There is hope that your example will make an impression. Though talking about wives, it is true in other relationships too: "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear" (I Peter 3:1-2).

One nice benefit to Christianity is that even if your worldly family turns against you, you spiritual family is huge. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19:29). It is a wonderful comfort to be able to travel all over and find people with whom you fit as if you've known them all your life.