“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 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. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 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.” (Jesus Christ in Matthew 10:34-37)
What!? How could the one who’s birth was heralded by the angels as being “peace on earth, good will toward men” say he came to do the opposite? How is it possible the loving Savior of the world who said “blessed are the peacemakers” cause ill-will between people and break up families? In cultures like ours where family ties are considered one of the most important ties people can have, this may be hard to understand. But the God who rules the universe will settle for nothing less than complete loyalty from his followers.
The sword that Christ brings is his word, which is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), dividing a man’s soul and spirit, and discerning a person’s thoughts as well as the motives of their hearts for their actions. When the word of God is spoken, it causes individuals to search themselves, bringing about conflict in their souls between God’s truth and man’s sinful nature. Upon hearing it, one can either become better or bitter. Nevertheless, the truth must be spoken to expose errors and denounce sin whatever the cost may be. Rest assured that if one accepts God’s word to become better, opposition automatically follows. If a person shares God’s word in obedience to his commandments and out of love for the hearer, opposition will follow.
Nothing pleases God more than a person who is willing to sacrifice everything, including family ties, to put him first. If we fear people, especially family members we love, more than we fear God, compromise of God’s commandments will become the order of the day for us. Standing true to the Lord Jesus when we have family members who are heathens will lead to conflict and domestic disturbances of the spiritual and, in some cases, of the physical kind. If I am in a family that worships Buddha or Allah or follows a different belief system, would I still follow Jesus if my family threatened to disown me, kill me, or throw me out on the street? This is the type of loyalty God wants and deserves. After all, he loves us in spite of all the evil stuff we’ve done and sacrificed everything for us to be free from our bondage of sin and to be with him. Family ties are temporary, but to be tied to God through Jesus Christ is a tie that lasts for eternity.
Following Jesus Christ puts a person into the spiritual family of believers and sets that person apart from members of their physical family who don’t know God. Anyone who doesn’t know God is in a different spiritual family headed by Satan and since Satan hates God, it should be no surprise when his spiritual children hate the children of God even if they are blood relatives.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–