Are you being rejected by your family for being a Christian?  This article was written to help you endure and prosper when following Christ causes you to lose your family.

The day it hit me that I had been rejected and had lost my family for being a Christian

I won’t forget standing in the middle of my living room when the realization hit me.  I had stopped walking toward the kitchen and finally said out loud what I was thinking.  The words dropped like massive stones in a canyon.  I turned a full one-hundred-eighty degrees, and with an even cadence I said to my wife Kelly, “I guess losing my family is the cost I must pay for choosing to follow Christ.”  I felt as though I had been punched in my soul.  The gravity of those words started to become real.

Since the early 2000’s I have not had contact with biological members of my extended family.

People within their circles of life have told me that my walk with Christ is the subject of jokes.  There is no desire by my sister or any of my extended family to have a relationship with me, my parents or Kelly.  To my knowledge, none of them have read my book, Simple Prayers for Men, or the articles I have written for this website.

We are all sinful, fallen, broken people.  I do not know the relationship any of them may or may not have with Jesus Christ.  All I know for certain is that the fruit of any such relationship has not been and is not evident to me.

What the Bible says about being rejected by your family because you are a Christian 

You may be losing all that you have known if you have left behind another religion or culture.  You may be in the middle of being rejected by your family for your choice to follow Jesus, or you may be years down the road of no contact from those you call your family.  Following Jesus is not easy.  Following Him can be one of the hardest things in life that a person will ever do, because the cost of following can be very high.  It will cost you things that are dear to you, including family…the very people that once said that they loved you so much.

I sat talking with a mentor, and fleshed out what you are about to read.  I told him of the details listed here and he agreed that for me the cost of following Christ has been very high.  He also told me that I was not alone.  He also was in a similar situation, and that oftentimes a Christian will lose their family because the family does not believe in Jesus, nor do they worship God.

Here’s what the Bible says:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Philippians 3:12-15 ESV)

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31 ESV)

I’m living proof of God’s promise to bring other people into our lives, including the acceptance I received through my wife and her family.  If it wasn’t for my wife’s family, I wouldn’t have any extended family; the difference is that they just aren’t the people that I grew up with.  Kelly’s extended family knows me because I married into the family.  I am, however, thankful that they have accepted me and welcomed me in.

I cite these two passages of Scripture, first from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippian church, and the second are the words of Jesus to his disciples as recorded by the Apostle Mark to show that the cost for following Christ is real, especially if you follow hard after Him and strive to be more like him.  In 2023 I came to the realization of what following Christ has come to cost me.  Because of this realization, I have had to leave the past behind and focus my attention toward the upward call of Christ.

Jesus was rejected by his family for following God’s plan for his life

The Apostle Matthew wrote these words of Jesus in his Gospel: “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:21-22 ESV)

Jesus faced rejection by his family.  His own brothers, James and Jude, didn’t believe Jesus was the Christ until after his glorious ascension.  In fact, the Gospels record that his family showed up to one of his public sermons with the intention of taking Him back to Nazareth because they thought he was crazy.  Jesus’ own family had lived in the moment thinking He was out of his mind.  It wasn’t until He had ascended into heaven from in front of many witnesses for them to believe Jesus was who he said he was.  James and Jude then wound up not only following him, but also authoring two letters that became books in the New Testament.

Jesus told us:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 10:28-33 ESV)

This Scripture is straight forward.  If we hide or deny our faith to get along with our families, we are jeopardizing our relationship with Christ.

Leaving the past behind to focus upward on Christ

You may ask, “David, where is all of this going?”

Come in close.  Scoot your chair a little closer to mine so you can hear this next sentence without any noise interference.

I would rather have Jesus acknowledge me before the Father, than to give up what I believe just to get back into my extended family’s good graces.  It’s hard and it hurts me deeply to be rejected by the people I’m related to by biology, the same people who professed familial love for me at one time or another, but I cannot and will not deny what Jesus has done for me.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36 ESV)

Jesus gives clear instructions in the book of Luke to love our enemies, including family members who try to harm us in any way because of following Him.

I have always tried to convey to my sister and extended family that I am willing to rebuild a bridge.  I still love my sister and her family, and would still go to help if I am ever asked to come to their aid.

My goal in telling this story is to relate to you that following Christ has a price.  Following Him won’t be easy.  Jesus guaranteed us that there will be hard times.  During the hard times when our family may reject us, our response must be the same as His response is; seeing those family members who persecute us through the eyes of Christ using Mercy, Grace, Love, and Forgiveness.

In your eyes and from your heart, is Jesus worthy of following even if it means losing everything?  Are you willing to give up what you know to live the life He has for you, and everything that goes with being His disciple?  If you are struggling with this, you are not alone.  He will comfort you and will be more than enough in your life.  Hold onto the hand of the Master and don’t look back.

Rejected by Your Family for Being a Christian Prayer

“Lord Jesus, I choose you.  I choose to follow You, no matter the cost.  I choose the life you have for me, the path you have set before me, and choose to live by your Spirit and your Spirit alone.

I claim the completed works of Christ over my life and my family today.  Everything that You have completed was done for me so that I may follow in your footsteps to the end of my days or your glorious return to call the Church home to you.

Help me live my life so that everyone, including family who may have intentionally distanced themselves, will know that my life was centered in and around you, and you alone.  May they see Your reflection in my face and all that I do.

During the hard times when my family may reject me, help my response to be the same as Christ.  Help me see my family members who persecute me through the eyes of Christ, applying his Mercy, Grace, Love, and Forgiveness.

All of this for the glory of Your name and not mine.  Hide me in You, and let your Spirit be my source for all of my days on this earth.  In your holy name I pray, amen.”

Other helpful articles

Prayer to Stop Believing You’re Not Good Enough to Follow Your Dreams

Feeling Unloved Prayer to Find God’s True Love

Feeling Rejected Prayer

Estranged from Loved One Prayer for Reconciliation and Healing


David Shelton

Copyright David Shelton 2024.  All rights reserved.