“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 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 a person's enemies will be those of his 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. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
These are such powerful words from Jesus.....what do they mean? Does this mean we need to hate our family members or we are not worthy of Christ? Well, as I live my life as a Christian, I can tell you first hand how these words have affected me.
When I became a follower of Jesus Christ, my eyes were opened to God's Word and I understood more clearly. I had and still have such a desire and passion to learn, study and become more and more like Christ, although I often fail. I would spend hours listening to sermon after sermon, reading through the scriptures, as well as listening to them on an audio version of the Bible.
The more I would learn, the more excited I was to share the Gospel with others, especially family members, but it didn't seem like others, even those who claimed to be Christians themselves were as enthusiastic. Some even told me I should tone it down and not talk about Jesus and the scriptures so much.
How could I not talk about Jesus? He consumes my thoughts and my desire to know him more, I can't help but talk about Christ and what I learn in the Word of God.
Out of love for family and friends, I would attempt to share the Gospel with them but it seemed to actually turn them against me, I noticed family members and friends would avoid me.
And to be fair to some of my family and friends, as a new believer in Christ, I had zeal, boy did I! I can't honestly say it was a zeal without knowledge because I was learning a great deal from the Word of God and growing, but I did not always have the greatest approach in engaging with family, not that I shy away from the truth in conversations with them today, but over the years I have grown in maturity in how I go about engaging in those conversations with family members and friends who I know will not be willing to, or even desire to hear the truth.
Now while I do want to caution those new believers who have zeal in their conversations with loved ones to not be overbearing to the degree that you bring offense to the gospel, I also don't want to discourage you, but rather encourage you to continue to speak the truth from God's Word into the life of your family and friends. If you get anything out of this article, learn from my mistakes.
The reality is that when speaking the truth, people will get offended. Just call out someone's favorite television preachers who twist scripture, such as, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, and T.D. Jakes. These false teachers become idols to their followers, so any critique of their teaching and you will be hated.
Call out false religions, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Islam, New Apostolic Reformation, and Roman Catholicism. And you will be labeled as intolerant and unloving because all religions are equally the same, or so they would want you to believe when the truth is they can't all be the same when they contradict one another, most importantly the teachings of these false religions go against the Word of God, secondly, they violate the law of non-contradiction.
Christianity is exclusive! Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)
The Word of God is Truth and Truth Hurts!!!!! And when you confront someone with the Gospel, the Word of God will divide. It's like shining a light in the darkness and people don't want the light. Light exposes the darkness!
You see Jesus is saying here, when you speak the truth, when you follow Jesus, you die to self. Pick up your cross and follow Him, people will think your crazy, they will think you are too radical, and it will divide. Jesus says, whoever loves father, mother, daughter or son more than him is not worthy to be his disciple. Pretty strong words from Jesus and that is a hard saying for some people to handle. He is not saying, do not love your family, Christ is saying that the gospel will divide and families will divide because of Christ. This is indeed what happened in the first-century church. When Jews came to Christ families turned against them. Our love for Christ is to be so much greater then the bonds we have with family and friends, that we would be willing to lose it all for Christ.
That is why Jesus tells us before we decide to follow him to count the cost. (Luke 14:27-33)
For some they might just lose everything as a follower of Christ, only by His grace may we be willing and able to heed the call!
The most loving thing someone can do is tell you the truth even when it might offend. When it comes to a person's soul and where they will spend eternity, nothing is more important, even if it means you may lose a friend or loved one by telling them the truth.
I will leave you with a quote from Antisthenes "There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself - an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly."
by Ricky Gantz