Not everyone is going to be pleased when we decide to live in the Reign. In fact, it can bring a very uncomfortable division between us and those we love.
Did Jesus Really Say That?
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Your enemies will be right in your own household!’” Matthew 10:34 – 36
Shocking isn’t it? To a world, and many times a church, that loudly proclaims “Family First!”, it is hard to believe these words actually fell from the lips of the Lord Jesus. Yet there they are in black (or red) and white. He, perhaps more than anyone, knew that family can sometimes stand in the way of the outworking of God’s Reign in one’s life. At one point His own family went out to take custody of Him because they thought He had lost His mind (Mark 3:20 – 21). While they must have had the best of intentions, their affections were wholly misguided. When they finally arrived and wished to speak with Him, He quickly affirmed that His closest relatives were those who were doing the will of God (Mark 3:31 – 35). King Jesus knew firsthand the separation the Kingdom of God can bring in a family.
How Not to be That Family
If the King should suddenly call one of your loved ones in an unanticipated direction, you don’t want to be the family that tries to contain them because you think they are losing it. It is important that we not judge too quickly what they should or should not do. It is totally appropriate, however, to enter into meaningful dialogue with them. That way you can find out what is really on their heart so you can better understand why they wish to go a certain direction. Realize too that there may be times when you simple have to release them into God’s hands. It may not be until much later that you recognize that they were indeed following the voice of the Lord.
If It is Your Family
How should you respond if it is your family trying to hinder you from following the King? It is important that you remain gracious and at least listen to their objections. Sometimes it is the voice of disagreement that will save your bacon by causing you to take a second look before making a final decision. If you remain convinced that the Lord is leading you down a specific pathway, you may have to be prepared to walk it alone for a while. Your family may eventually see that you have indeed made the right choice. Sometimes they never do. Your ultimate goal in any case is to continue following the King regardless the cost.
Jesus told us our first priority is to be the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). He never said it would come without a price. It seems especially costly when it separates us from our loved ones. It can, however, be part of the price we pay for living in the Reign.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.