The Lord Jesus May Divide Families
Thirty-seven years ago, I went home for the holidays to tell my family I had become a born-again Christian and had left the Catholic Church. I remember being so excited to tell them the good news because I thought they would also want to receive God's gift of eternal life. Instead, they turned on me and refused to hear any more of my new life in Christ. My dear old dad, whose brother was a Catholic priest, got very angry because I had betrayed the Catholic family heritage. Our once close and harmonious relationship quickly became very distant to the point of me being ostracized. Later, when I told him I was enrolling in seminary, he told me I was throwing my life away.
Christians May Have to Forsake Their Families
Our Savior forewarned us this would happen in families. He said, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53). Our Lord also said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Mat. 10:37). Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind (Mat. 22:37).
Christians May Have to Count the Cost
There are some people who refuse to exchange their religion for a saving relationship with Jesus because of their passionate loyalty to parents and siblings. Family ties can be so strong that people stubbornly reject biblical truth for the sake of maintaining peace and harmony. I have a neighbor who told me that he will not leave the Catholic Church until his mother dies. In essence, they are saying they love their families more than they love God. As Christians, we must plead with them to consider the words of our Savior. He said, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life" (Mat. 19:29). There is no middle ground with the Lord Jesus. He warned us, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters" (Luke 11:23).
Christians May Have to Offend Their Parents
Six years ago, I was invited to preach a 2-day seminar at a church in Wisconsin. A woman in the church dragged her Catholic husband to the church for the first time to hear my message, Where Will You Spend Eternity? After the message, she introduced me to her husband Pete. I asked him, "Based on what you heard from God's Word tonight, what is keeping you from trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as your all-sufficient Savior?" After waiting nearly a minute for his response, his wife Megan finally blurted out, "It's your parents, you don't want to offend your parents." Pete agreed that she was right. We talked for a few more minutes and I gave Pete a couple of Gospel tracts: Which Jesus Will You Trust? and The Greatest Gift Ever Given. I asked him to read them and come back the next morning to hear my Sunday morning message.
Christians Must Acknowledge Jesus as Lord
The next morning Pete and Megan were the first ones in the church and couldn't wait to talk to us. Pete told us that after reading the Gospel tracts, he could not go to sleep. As he tossed and turned, he kept crying out to Jesus to save him. When Megan woke up, they sat on the side of the bed. Pete apologized to her for his angry outbursts whenever she invited him to church. Needless to say, we praised God with tears of joy for His amazing grace! Pete exhibited the mark of a true Christian by demonstrating loyalty to Jesus was greater than loyalty to his parents. He was willing to leave the Catholic religion for an eternal relationship with Jesus and suffer any consequences with his parents.
Christians Are Adopted Into a New Family
The Lord Jesus is the great divider who separates believers from unbelievers throughout all eternity. His followers may be cut off from their unbelieving families, but our heavenly Father adopts every born-again Christian into His eternal family (Eph. 1:5). Members of God's family not only enjoy the sweet fellowship of many more brothers and sisters, they also enjoy every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus and a peace that surpasses all understanding (Eph. 1:3; Phil. 4:7).