How do I honor my parents when we disagree on religion?

This is a tough situation to be in for sure. It's not easy to disagree with parents about anything, but disagreements are that much harder when it's over something like religion. The hardest part, for a Christian teen, is how to balance the command to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12; 1 Peter 2:7) with the command to honor God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We CAN do both, but it sometimes means making a hard choice, and knowing when "honoring" no longer includes "obeying."

When you discuss these areas of disagreement with your parents, the most important thing you need to demonstrate is respect. Right or wrong, good or bad, we are obligated to "honor" our parents (Matthew 19:19). This does not always mean we need to "obey" them, since no authority on earth can command us to disobey God (Acts 5:29). But honor requires us to be polite, truthful, and humble towards them. Even if THEY are not polite or truthful or kind towards you, it is still extremely important that you act in a Christlike manner.

In some cases, this might mean just agreeing to disagree, and not trying to convince them of your point of view right now. When a conversation starts to become tense, it may be best to just let things be and come back to the topic later. You don't have to "win" arguments, and you are not responsible for converting your parents to exactly the right doctrines. (Also see: How do I get my friend / family member to accept Christ?)

The more your parents see you as a Christlike, well-informed, loving person, the more likely it is they'll take your views of Scripture seriously. Then—and only then—will it matter what kind of information, facts, and evidence you're able to use. As frustrating as it might be, co-existing with family when you don't see eye-to-eye on spiritual matters is often a part of life. And if you can't manage to be loving and careful with your own family, it'll be that much harder to be a good witness to the rest of the world.

Be encouraged, then, knowing you have access to information which can help you explain the truth to your parents when the time is right. Rest assured that these kinds of disagreements are not unusual. It is possible to be effective and helpful in pointing your family toward Christ, without feeling the need to "win" when you discuss this with them.


Writer: Jeff Laird

Jeff is a staff writer with Got Questions Ministries and used to be a mechanical engineer. When he's not accidentally setting things on fire in his workshop, or petting strange dogs, he loves helping people better understand God’s Word and how it applies to our lives. Jeff's calling is to untangle the "big picture" of Christian faith, making it easier to understand.

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