And someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But He answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 13:46-50).
It is apparent from this Scripture citation that obedience to Jesus Christ and following Him, in many cases, will cause the fracturing of some or all of one’s earthly family. One of the most difficult challenges many Christians face is trying to maintain close family ties, while still being obedient to Jesus Christ and growing in the Word of God. In some cases, it just cannot be done. A Christian’s unbelieving family does not understand the things of God, nor are they able to (1 Cor. 2:14). Therefore, severing close relations may be a choice based on ignorance.
Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ can painfully and invariably separate Christian’s from non-believing family members, regardless of blood ties and initial closeness; Jesus Christ divides (Matt. 10:21-22, 35-36). Many families have permanently fractured because of Jesus Christ, never again having unity or harmony. For some professing Christians, division from family members is extremely difficult or a virtually impossible experience to endure. And unfortunately, because of this reason some Christians will choose to elect family continuity, rather than allegiance to Jesus Christ and will repress association with Him.
Interestingly, many believers’ audaciously marvel when they read of how Christ’s disciple, Peter, denied Jesus three times in order to escape persecution (Matthew 26:69-74). Yet, every time a Christian marginalizes or denies Jesus Christ, so as to keep peace within his earthly family, is guilty of the same sin Peter committed. Division may be necessary and required by God to accomplish His work, no matter how severe the pain. Read how Jesus challenged His potential followers.
…in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three…father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:52-53).
This must have been hard teaching for the ears of the multitude who listened to Jesus Christ, but this hard teaching is relevant for anyone seeking to be His follower. He admonished all potential disciples to seriously “count the costs” before choosing to follow Him (Luke 14:28).
Even if Christians try to avoid conflict and do everything possible to circumvent friction; contention is practically unavoidable. For many Christian’s if they choose to obey God’s word, they do so at the risk of family division. Believer’s must be in constant prayer, and reading their Bible’s daily, in order to ease the possible deep wounds inflicted upon them by precious loved ones who will not accept a siblings love and devotion to Jesus Christ. A love that obviously transcends all earthly bonds, therefore excommunication is imminent (Mark 12:28-31).
Love for Jesus Christ must surpass all other loves! For instance, in the book “A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis, drew attention to the extraordinarily painful loss of his wife, Joy. Lewis said, “Lord, are these Your real terms? Can I really meet Joy again (in heaven) only if I love You so much that I don’t care whether I meet her or not?” C.S. Lewis was concluding that his love for Jesus Christ had to exceed all human endearments, even his love for his wife. He would have to painstakingly mitigate his love for her, comparably to his love for Christ. How profound and accurate his inquiry to God truly was considering his bereavement. It can be extremely difficult for the believer to embrace these difficult terms. Being a follower of Jesus Christ and faithfully obeying His precepts might permanently ostracize a Christian from his or her family, which can be extremely painful and beyond comprehension. Yet, I ask; isn’t eternal salvation worth that price, especially knowing that we will be in the presence of Jesus Christ in heaven! Amen!