2002-03-15 - Non-Believing Relatives
(Mat 10:34-37 NRSV) Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Tough words. Sometimes I think we expect God to make everything peaceful between us and our families. But actually, if we follow Christ, in all likelihood, we will have conflicts with some family members at one time or another. Perhaps you are trying to decide on a college major and feel called to ministry, but your parents think you need to do something "more practical." Perhaps your brother or sister doesn't understand why you don't want to party or why you think people are more important than "things." Maybe an in-law or parent criticizes you because you aren't living the lifestyle they consider "the good life." Just remember: Use Jesus as your plumbline, and noone else. He never promised that our families would always be pleased with us. His certainly wasn't always pleased with Him. It's natural to want to please them, to make them proud. And it hurts when this doesn't work out. However, Jesus has promised to always be there to help us.
(Mat 28:20 NRSV) And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Sometimes our behavior makes impressions on them, even when it doesn't seem evident at the time. I have one relative who will argue against what I am convicted about, but later say "you really made me think." We may not know until we are in Heaven, how our lives impact them. So keep your eyes on Christ; focus on pleasing Him.
Dear Father, please help us to keep focused on pleasing You, not relatives or other people. Help us to have more of Your perspective, and to relate to difficult relatives as Jesus would. In His name amen.