I just want to start off and say this: I am very proud of you. You have courage to be where you are. Check out what Jesus said in Matthew 10
“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!’
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.” Matthew 10:34-37
Wow, at first that seems a little un-Jesus-like, but you’ve got to take a minute and think about it. In verse 34 Jesus says he did not come to bring peace but rather a sword. What does that mean? Well if Jesus was going to make peace with the world then He would have to compromise with our world. If He compromised with our world (which has been a sinful world ever since Adam and Eve’s choice to reject God) then Jesus would have had to become sinful, or accept some part of our sinful world. That is the only way He could have made peace. But we know He couldn’t do that. He lived a perfect life.
Think about when the Pharisees mocked and ridiculed Jesus. Jesus could have made peace with them by stopping what He was doing here on earth and left, then and there. But did He come to make peace? No! He came to fulfill a mission. To die and rise again for us, no matter the cost. He came with a “sword” to fight for us.
Jesus goes on to talk about how He came to set family members against each other; even specifically using parents and their children as an example. Is He saying that He wants us to fight our family and hate each other? No! We know Jesus wants us to love our family ( 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 1 John 4:19, etc.) What He’s saying here is that if you choose to follow him, it may set you against your family. Spiritually it makes you different. If you know Jesus Christ but your dad does not, that can set you against each other.
Jesus even goes so far as to say, “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine”. And to that some people may say Jesus sounds like a jerk. Is He? Imagine that you were engaged to a guy or girl. You love them with all of your heart. Then imagine that they, even though engaged to you, still love their high school sweetheart more than they love you. Are they worthy of you? No! A true relationship is one where you love that person more than anyone else. That’s how Jesus is saying a relationship should be with Him. He doesn’t want you to put anyone before Him, and that’s fair.
Your parents do not agree with your faith? Then you stand strong as a rock my friend! In Matthew 19 Jesus says:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29
Despite what your mom and dad want, despite what your family wants, Jesus says that anyone who chooses to follow Him over them will inherit eternal life!
In Luke 14 Jesus says:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
I liked what one person I heard had to say about this verse:
Let’s paint the scene. In Luke 14:25, large crowds were travelling with Jesus because they had seen him healing people, feeding people and teaching people at no cost. Why not follow Jesus? You can get something for nothing. However, in this passage we see Jesus turn around to them that following him is not without cost – you have to place him before other important people in your lives. You even have to place him before yourselves.
To get his point across he uses very emotive and challenging language – you must hate everyone else. In so doing he is not saying that you do it literally but you must be prepared to put everything else second. So if your parent forbids you from following him then you must disobey them and so on.
Love your parents, and love them truly, but your relationship with Jesus is above everything else. And just like God told his people thousands of years ago in Joshua 1:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I can’t tell you it will be easy, because it won’t. But what I can tell you is who Jesus said our family is:
“While he [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50
Regardless of what your family says or what you family thinks, you have a family in Christ and in all believers! When Jesus was praying for his followers in John 17, He said this:
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:14
You see, the world isn’t going to like what we believe; they just won’t. Our very own family and friends may flat out hate it; many times without reason! But Jesus said that this is because we aren’t of the world. We are of him. And that is incredible news!
I will end with John 16:33
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I hope that this is a help to you. I know you are in a tough spot. If you want to get ahold of me and let me know more about your situation, I would be happy to try and help you out some more. Remember what Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” There is hope. Stay Strong.
Tyler J. Collins | Creator of Discover the Answer