Relating to Non-Orthodox Family as a True Test of Orthodoxy

Dr Jonathan Gress wrote a helpful paper for those who might be Orthodox Christians with non-Orthodox family members.  Myself being an Orthodox Christian with an Orthodox Christian fiancee, with both of our families being non-Orthodox, this paper is very valuable in regards to providing advice on how to interact with family members who are not Orthodox Christians.  This can certainly be a real challenge at times, but it can also be an opportunity to teach our family members about the Orthodox faith.  It is important to remain strong in our Orthodox practices when interacting with non-Orthodox family members, even when it may be very inconvenient, lest we portray ourselves as not being serious about our faith.

If anyone reading this is a convert to Orthodoxy with non-Orthodox family members or is a non-Orthodox family member of a person who has converted to Orthodoxy and is maybe wondering why their Orthodox family member does certain things the way they do or wants to know how to better accommodate their Orthodox loved one, feel free to contact me, and I will do what I can to help or put you in touch with people that can help.

Having non-Orthodox family members, especially if one is the only Orthodox member due to personal conversion, can be a real trial and test of one’s faith, but it is also a truly God-given opportunity to witness to Christ and the Church, and to win over new converts, provided one understands how to use the opportunity. Orthodoxy does not require us to abandon our relationship with our non-Orthodox relatives, and certainly does not absolve us of our natural obligations towards them, but it does require us to put God and the Church first whenever there is a conflict between the demands of family and the demands of our faith.

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