My Christianity is a Family Conflict

“And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” – Matthew 10:21

The disciples of Jesus Christ experienced many hardships (Acts 5:40; Acts 12:1-3), not only from without (governments, courts), but also from within (friends, family; Mat 10:21).

Living for God often brings on persecution, but with it comes the opportunity to tell the good news of salvation. In times of persecution, we can be confident because Jesus has “overcome the world” (John 16:33). And those who stand firm to the end will be saved (delivered) (Mat 10:22).

Standing firm to the end is not a way to be saved but the evidence that a person is really committed to Jesus. Persistence is not a means to earn salvation; it is the by-product of a truly devoted life.

“It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” – Matthew 10:25

Beelzebub was also known as the lord of flies and the prince of demons. The Pharisees accused Jesus of using Beelzebub’s power to drive out demons (see Mat 12:24). Good is sometimes labeled evil.

If Jesus, who is perfect, was called evil, his followers should expect that similar accusations will be directed at them.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. [30] But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [31] Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:29-31

Jesus said that God is aware of everything that happens even to sparrows, and you are far more valuable to him than they are. You are so valuable that God sent his only Son to die for you (John 3:16).

Because God places such value on you, you need never fear personal threats or difficult trials. These can’t shake God’s love or dislodge his Spirit from within you.

But this doesn’t mean that God will take away all your troubles (see Mat 10:16). The real test of value is how well something holds up under the wear, tear, and abuse of everyday life.

Those who stand up for Christ in spite of their troubles truly have lasting value and will receive great rewards (see Mat 5:11, 12).

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34

Jesus did not come to bring the kind of peace that glosses over deep differences just for the sake of superficial harmony.

Conflict and disagreement will arise between those who choose to follow Christ and those who don’t.

“For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matthew 10:35-39

Christian commitment may separate friends and loved ones.

In saying this, Jesus was not encouraging disobedience to parents or conflict at home. Rather, he was showing that his presence demands a decision.

Because some will follow Christ and some won’t, conflict will inevitably arise. As we take our cross and follow him, our different values, morals, goals, and purposes will set us apart from others.

Don’t neglect your family, but remember that your commitment to God is even more important than they are. God expects to be your first priority.