ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Abandon Family? For the Sake of Christ?

Updated on December 6, 2013
Brother against brother
Brother against brother | Source

Jesus said it!

My morning reading had me in Luke 18 where Jesus answered Peter's observation that he and others had left their homes to follow him, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." (Luke 18:28-30)

Jesus said a few other things that seem to be anti-family. In Matthew 10:35-36 He asserts, "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."

Then there's this. "To another he said, 'Follow me.' But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' And Jesus said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury the dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Yet another said, 'I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:59-62)

Provocative stuff! To say the least. And from Jesus!


Marriage and family are God's idea

God himself said, "It's not good that the man should be alone." (Genesis 2:18) He created Eve and the first family came into being. But Adam failed to play the man and allowed Eve to succumb to the wiles of Satan. Their legacy? Dysfunctional families. Show me a family in Scripture that isn't dysfunctional.

Yet when God chose an agency through whom to deliver a Savior into the world he chose a family. God promised Abraham, "I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring (read family) after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you." (Genesis 17:7)

There's no doubt that the Scriptures encourage healthy families. Officers in the church must be godly family men (I Timothy 3:4). Marriage is to be pure and permanent (Matthew 19:1-9). There is direct teaching regarding marriage and family life (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Cynics are fond of pointing out such apparent confusions in Scripture. They insist on their own flawed interpretation of Scripture and then reject the whole. But there is a reasonable solution that takes into account all the Scriptures quoted above.

The family - God's building block

There can be no doubt that the family consisting of a male and female united as husband and wife and what children God chooses to give them is His design for human society. By that arrangement our God-given longing for intimacy is met, a healthy and godly next generation is born, and eternal principles are modeled. This was how it was supposed to be. Had sin not infected the system there would never be any conflict between family commitments and loyalty to God.

But our sin and alienation from God turned us from grateful recipients of his creation blessings into desperate clawers after anything that will assuage our need for intimacy and significance. To hell with the rules! So while we still have families they've become means of personal gratification to which we feel entitled. Heaven help the grandparent who becomes burdensome or the spouse who doesn't fully satisfy or the child who shows some independence.


Enter the gospel

The gospel asserts that God himself satisfies our need for intimacy and significance. This happens when a person humbly repents of his rebellion and seeks forgiveness for his sin and renewal by faith in Jesus Christ. Of course this is an experience that grows over time.

Now family members become secondary to our Heavenly Father. God's normal means of satisfing our needs is through a loving spouse and respectful children and loyal friends beyond the family. But remember that sin has infected us all. So the best family will still fall short of filling our deepest soul longings. Until Jesus returns and we enter the New Heavens and the New Earth God has given us an extended family, the congregation of his people. That's why we call each other brothers and sisters. So in this life to a significant, albeit not full, degree our basic human needs may be met.

But suppose we forget

So attractive can be our spouses and so darling our children that we easily invest our entire sense of well-being in them. Therein lies the problem. God's gifts have become more important to us than God himself. God is God and we're not. Get used to that. If you don't, you put at risk not only yourself, but those you love most dearly.

Peter, a dear friend of Jesus and a member of his inner circle, once tried to prevent Jesus from going to Jerusalem where He was certain to be arrested. Jesus had some shocking words for him. "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." (Matthew 16:23)

Jesus didn't mean that Peter had become Satan or even that he was possessed by Satan. Nor was He rejecting him forever. Peter went on to become a great advocate for the gospel and authored two biblical books. But at this particular moment he played a Satan role. Jesus had to rebuke him and proceed with his plans. So it is sometimes in our families. Those most dear to us may stand in the way of our following what we believe God desires. It feels horrible, but it is life in a sinful world.

How the gospel divides families

I've mentioned one way in the previous paragraph. But there are others. When one member of a family follows Christ but the others don't there is an invisible wall that appears. If the new Christian grows in his faith his lifestyle will change. He's no longer entertained by what others in the family enjoyed. His priorities begin to run counter to that of mom and dad, brothers and sisters. He may feel condemned as a goody, goody. Life can become pretty uncomfortable. The same dynamic takes place when a member of a Christian family decides to leave the Christian faith. Of course it's painful and awkward, but it unavoidable in a fallen world.

The challenge for those who follow Jesus is to make sure that the fissure is over Christ, not over one's own peccadillos. In fact ours is to bend over backwards to show patience and kindness to those who have never shared or have rejected our beliefs. Let's face it. The hardest place to do that is within our own families. They have the goods on us and don't mind throwing them in our faces.

But Jesus had it a lot worse.

Comments - I'm listening

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Crystal Tatum, for your kind comments. Also, glad to have you among my followers. Hope you find them useful.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for this insightful hub and attemp to reconcile these apparent tensions in Scripture. There are some contradictions and tensions throughout and it makes it challenging for those of us who struggle with faith and knowing God's will. Voted up and interesting.

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Indeed, Jackie, it goes both ways. Family members are dear gifts from the Lord, but sometimes the dearest of them can be elevated above the Lord in the degree of influence over us that we allow them. Frankly, it's a constant struggle for all of us. When I give into my granddaughter's desires against my better judgment, I've made her my god. When I allow my wife's depression to send me on a downward spiral I make her my god. In neither case have I loved them well.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Jesus did say He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Once we are Christian we have a new family. I think it is very wrong to put a husband or child above God. How many women waste their whole lives being held back from God and serving Him, by a man who serves the devil?

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks teacherjoe52, really appreciate your comment and commendation. Glad you found it helpful.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 5 years ago

      Good morningLiftand Soar.

      Very well said about the family. Many need to read this.

      God bless you in Gods family.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)