Am I in sin for not speaking out against family member's sins?


Hi everyone. I belong to a family that is largely non-Christian. My dad and my mom have both been baptized before but none of my sisters or my brother have been baptized to my knowledge. I have been baptized (in a Pentecostal church via the Trinitarian method) and confirmed in a Catholic Church. I was a convert to the faith. Anyway, is it a sin for me to not speak out against the sins of my family members? :confused: I am afraid to speak out against their sins for fear of being ridiculed or just causing trouble in general. None of my family members are practicing Christians and none of them like for me to talk about religion to them. Please help! :frowning:


I know what you mean. Non of my family is Catholic or practising christians. They think our religion is some kind of cult.I dont preach to them, I think it would cause a problem. If discussing Catholic faith would cause a fight etc… then it would be better not to say much. But, it is important to set an example and show them we are proud to be Catholic. I know sometimes that may be difficult, but we can’t deny that we love God. What has really helped is that my husband talks to them about it, sometimes. I think its easier for him because its not his immediate family.
Just keep praying for your family, God will give you the strength to help them. I find the more I try to get closer to God, the easier it is to defend our Faith!


Oh okay. :slight_smile: Thank you. :slight_smile:


Did you see the question posed to the CA apologists?

Which is more important: Morality or family peace?

We are called to be faithful to Christ, even if this causes some discord in our families.

That being said, I think there is discretion in exactly how one goes about it. “In your face” tactics can be off-putting, especially when they come from a family member. Thus, they can actually drive people further away from the Church. But neither do we want to sweep things under the rug and adopt a “I’m okay, you’re okay” attitude. It’s a delicate balance. :slight_smile:

Also, picking your battles is important.


Only if you’re willing to have them speak out against your sins, Holly.


Hi Joe,

I understand what your saying. If they speak out against God, then yes we have to speak up. But, if they know that you love God and they know how strong your faith is, I dont see any good coming from speaking out if it causes a fight etc…


I do understand what you are saying, too (I think! ;)). Certainly, this is where discretion comes in. Every family is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Certainly, the most important thing is to pray for our family and to live our faith. Anything that we could possibly say will ring hollow without these two things.

However, I suppose I just wanted to issue a caution. Too often, it seems as though people use the motto “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words” as an excuse to never use words, simply because that’s easier. As though we can just “live and let live” and that will be enough. Of course, I’m not saying anyone here is doing that, I just caution against it.

Sometimes, too, some of our family members may not realize that we find anything wrong with what they’re doing. Our silence can be an implicit approval of their actions. They might not even realize that anyone considers their actions sinful, or that the Church teaches that their actions are sinful. Of course, we don’t want to be belligerent or condascending, but I think it’s important that they realize we don’t agree that certain things are okay.

Another thing to consider is how close you are to the person. Certainly, calling up your aunt who you barely know to tell her she is “living in sin” with her boyfriend would not seem particularly prudent or beneficial. But, if it’s your sibling you are close to, you can find some diplomatic way of letting them know that, although you love them, you don’t approve of their actions.

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. I just wanted to voice the point of view that there is a place for speaking out against sinful behavior. Admonishing the sinner is, after all, one of the spiritual works of mercy.


Your right Joe! You have to know how to approach people, everyone is different! It is so important to be careful, because you dont want to push them furthur away from the faith!


Well – if I was going down a dangerous path — before I reached the end----I would hope someone would love me enough to point it out to me. Do the Orthodox not believe in guiding people away from that which is a danger to their spiritual well being.


Can you all give me some examples as to how to do it in a tactful way? :confused:


Im not sure what you mean. Could you explain more of what your asking? thanks for talking!


You’re welcome. Basically, what if a family member took God’s name in vain or something? Should I confront them right then and there or take them aside and confront them? Or what if they are cussing too much or are making a lot of sexual jokes that make me feel uncomfortable? How do I deal with such situations? :confused:


I know exactly how you feel, Holly! When my family does that, my husband is the one to respond, sometimes he usually says… “Hey,no cursing!” Once I said…" Hey you shouldnt say that." Now they know where we stand and they dont say it as often as before. One thing to try, when they say impure things, dont laugh, just show your disaproval by your facial expression. And if after some time, they still do it, then you have to tell them not to say that. I wouldnt do it in private, I would let all know how you feel about it. A priest once told me that when you respond, you dont want to be ignorant, but let them know that it is wrong. You dont want to be negative about the faith, but yet they must be corrected. I know its so hard, I am still struggling with it.


Oh ok. Thank you. Any tips on how to correct them yet not be negative about the Faith? :confused:


When they say something impure, I would say…“I dont find that funny and I dont talk like that” or if they blaspheme you could say to them," please dont swear." and if they dont listen after time, then I would sit down with them and discuss the faith and tell them that they have to stop saying those things. every family is different.
Its nice to know that others are in the same situation, just to know were not alone is comforting.

I am married and have a little girl who is 2. I am 35 years old.
I would love to know more about you, only if you want to tell me about youerself.


Ok, thank you 9nicole. If you want to learn about me, feel free to PM me with either your AIM, MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger or Windows Messenger), or Yahoo Messenger address.

Anyway, I have tried those things but unfortunately discussing the faith with them and why it is important that they stop probably wouldn’t work for all of them, especially my Atheist grandpa and Agnostic sister.


I have this same issue and I have always wondered the same question you have. I try to show by me not taking part in what they say . I have a disability so it is a little hard to correct them when I have to depend on them for certian things. so my advice is do the best you can in those situations . I understand exactly what you are saying


The most powerful statement that any of us can make is the unaffected life that we live before them.

No doubt they know that you have converted.

If you live differently than they do because of that conversion, then you will far more readily win a hearing from them.

You must never assume a self righteous attitude or demeanor with them since we are all sinners to begin with.

Within your own house, you can make your own rules, but always…always…always…in love and compassion for them.

1st Peter 4:3 For the time past is sufficient to have fulfilled the will of the Gentiles, for them who have walked in riotousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and unlawful worshipping of idols. 4 Wherein they think it strange, that you run not with them into the same confusion of riotousness, speaking evil of you. 5 Who shall render account to him, who is ready to judge the living and the dead.


Thank you for this advice Michael. It is quite helpful as is all the advice I have received in this thread. :smiley:



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