“Look at what you’ve done by becoming a Christian. You’ve deserted the family tradition. Your father feels like a failure. He couldn’t keep the family together.” My mother tried to reason with me to forsake my newfound faith. And I wavered. It pained me to see my parents’ sadness and disappointment. In my collectivism-based culture, group is esteemed greater than the individual. So I thought, By becoming a Christian, did I become a bad child?

If you come from a non-Christian background with relatives that place strong emphasis on family unity, you’ve likely struggled with similar questions.

Jesus’ words in Luke 14:26 challenge us: “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, . . . yes, even your own life.” This can naturally lead us to consider: Do I really want to be Jesus’ disciple?

Consider this illustration that has helped me with my questions and apprehension: “Imagine that you and your family are in a box. For as long as you can remember, that’s all anyone has known about the world. Any suggestions that there’s a world beyond the box is considered to be ridiculous. One day you discover a key that opens the box door. Through it, you can see the world outside. Will you throw away the key and remain in the box with your family, or use it to step out in faith to explore the world outside so that you can share it with them?”

So, as we “count the cost,” are we bad children when we become believers in Jesus? (Luke 14:28). By no means. Rather, we’re now able to love and honor our parents in the best way possible—leading them to life in Jesus who alone is the Lord and Savior of the world! (1 Corinthians 1:30).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Samuel 17:1-31