“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:21-22)
How ironic it would be that the Prince of Peace could cause such a problem with relationships. It was a fact that one charge against the early Christians was that they interrupted family relationships. They did set family members against each other over beliefs. These were not actions that were the problem but beliefs. One would think that beliefs would be no problem but people even want to control other’s beliefs. The early Christian community was a difficult place with persecution coming often from one’s own family. This would not be the end of persecution over beliefs, even beliefs within the Christian community. Christians would do horrible things in the name of faithfulness to Jesus.
Even today there is nothing that can upset people like Jesus. It can be within an unbelieving family or even with a family that shares different understandings of the Church. The bottom line for this disruption, however, is that Jesus challenges the world, the world within each of us. He challenges us to be like Him in a world that is rebelling against Him. To live for Jesus may alienate friends who do not. To live for Jesus means certain ways of living are not acceptable anymore. We are called out of the world to live a new life. We need to face the fact that we are a thorn in the world’s sinful nature. Let it be so, for Jesus sake.
Heavenly Father, help us be faithful to Your Son in our witness no matter the consequences with our relationships. But let our witness also be a means for You to draw others unto Yourself. You know those who need to be reached. Help us with love and courage to reach them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.
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