Thank G-d, I am blessed to have good relations with my extended family members. Although our beliefs differ, and it may be that they don’t exactly know what I believe, they don’t ask. See, the majority of my family are Christian. This is how I was raised, we were very involved in an evangelical church, along with all its dogma. Family members know that my beliefs are different; for example we don’t celebrate xmas or other well known Christian holidays, and haven’t for many years. That’s when they began to know something had gone “wrong”.
I get offers from family and neighbors to visit their church, “You should bring the kids…”, I decline but they never ask why. I feel that they are scared to ask, they can’t bare to hear me confirm for sure that I don’t believe in “their god”. You see in that religion if you don’t call upon the name of that god, accept him and his sacrifice you will be sent to hell, not a place to be purified, but a place to burn forever in agony for refusing to accept this person as your personal savior. And because my family loves me, they can’t bare to hear that I don’t believe because that would put me in the “going to hell” category.
I have chosen not to push my belief on anyone, and especially not our extended family. I choose to live a life that speaks for itself, and not judge them. At times this is frustrating because my life has changed so much with Emuna, and Rebbe Nachmans teachings, that I want to share. I want my family to know that Emuna is the answer to all of their questions. Never the less I get this “vibe”, the “I love you so much but, you are going to hell vibe,” I would love to scream, “Get over it, I'm not going to Hell!” Instead, I pray Hashem will help me be an example and give me opportunities to help them see the truth of Emuna and the love of Hashem . And thankfully he gives those opportunities!
One such occasion I was shopping with my sweet Mother, we were by ourselves so we talk a little more with no kiddos in tow. Our conversations usually jump all over the place covering various topics, this particular time I could sense that she really wanted to ask, “the question”. The question regarding what it is that I actually believe about God. I love my Mom and as a mother myself I know how a mother can worry. (Especially without knowledge of Emuna). So I silently asked Hashem to please help me to speak truth to her and not cause her pain.
Thank G-d, that prayer was answered instantly when I asked her, “Mom, which one of your children would you send to Hell, to burn in anguish for eternity?” I continued before she could answer, wanting her to think a bit I continued, “Mom, I have made huge mistakes. I have been disobedient, I have been disrespectful and questioned your authority, I've lied to you too. The other sibs haven't exactly been angels, either. So which one of your young-in's Mom, would you send to Hell? All of us?
The question obviously took her by surprise, then she answered with a confident NONE OF YOU! My next question was, “So you are more compassionate than God? You, a human? More compassionate than the Creator of the universe?”
It began to sink in with her and I added, “Mom, you love me as much as a human can love, but to a limited capacity as a human being, God loves me more than that, and If you as a human with limitations wouldn’t send your imperfect, disobedient, disrespectful, mistake ridden children to Hell, Why would He?
The car was really quiet at that point. I know she was thinking. The truth was spoken in love. And hopefully it will bring her some peace and Hashem willing cause her to re-think some of the dogma that she is so bound up in. I will continue to live my Noahide life and God willing continue to show my family the Emuna Way, it speaks for itself. If someday they ask, I will tell them all they want to know, until then I will just let Hashem give me the words-----when words are necessary.