The Great Divider by Miz Pink


Little miss me was supposed to post something on Saturday. That’s supposed to be my regular day around here now (in addition to the twofer Tuesday thang) I could go blaming my girlfriend who is about to go through a divorce and wanted to hang out last night, but truth is I still had time to post something. But it probably woulda been crapiolio because I was fresh outta ideas. But church today gave me a nice gospel passage to talk about, so it’s all to the good now.

And what am I gonna talk about? Gospel o’ Matthew chapter 10, verses 24-39. I know, I know, a decent chunk of reading for the average American but you’re reading a blog so how average can ya be? You must like reading. But if you’re really pressed for time you can focus on verses 34 through 39 becasue that’s the controversial part…the part the really rankles some people. Including the woman who read that passage before today’s sermon at church. And the pastor apparently almost lost a close friendship a few years back talking about this passage. Here’s that thorny part by the way:

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. 37 “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. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

As the liturgist today was fretting about verbally as she prepared to read the entire passage (which is about the meaning of discipleship), she even said, “I like to think that Matthew didn’t really understand what Jesus meant to say.”

And to that, I ask “why the heck not?”

I know it sounds harsh of Jesus to put it that way, but what’s wrong with putting the son of God, the savior of the world…and by extension his big daddy upstairs…ahead of your family? Are the creator of the universe and the guy who is responsible for making it possible for you to avoid eternal damnation some punks you should disregard? Isn’t their eternal cause…and the mission of evangelism and discipleship they put before us more important than any of our worldly concerns?

I’m not saying we should disregard our families and I’m not saying everyone should go out and spread the gospel while leaving their loved ones in the dust. But when you get down to it, that’s not what Jesus was talking about really.

Remember, he was preaching to guys and gals who were Jewish! Waaaay back in the day! To follow him and accept that he was the messiah when most people thought he was a fraud and a troublemaker (especially the saduccees and pharisees) was to put yourself at direct odds with your families. Most people had to basically reject what their families were telling them to follow Jesus. So, back then (and even for some time after Jesus rose from the dead, since the vast bulk of Isreal was still Jewish and not followers of Jesus and most of the Gentiles worshipped multiple other gods and goddesses) Christianity was a huge divider of families. But to embrace your family’s desires would have been to reject Jesus and thus salvation and redemption. Jesus was telling them it was a hard choice but a needed one. People had to choose sides and that meant pissing off family and friends and employers and even the leaders of society.

Today, the average Christian in the first world at least doesn’t really have to deal with that. Let’s face it. If you’re born into a Christian family in America or Europe or someplace else where Christians aren’t persecuted, your family isn’t likely to be divided much by your beliefs in Jesus. Though it is still possible. Maybe you have liberal Christian parents who think the entire Bible is just symbolic. Well then if you take a more fundie view, you might have to choose Christ over your kin. Doesn’t mean you have to reject your family but it does mean you have to be willing to incur their anger maybe to do the right thing. And if your family is Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or whatever else and you take up believing in Christ, well you can best be sure you’ll probably ruffle some feathers and maybe be unwelcome at family gatherings.

And how about not being in a Christian tolerant country  at all? Think of the missionary folks who go out to the Middle East or China or wherever to preach the gospel. They find people who hear and take the gospel to heart. Sometimes they get imprisoned and tortured and even killed for doing it. And the people they preach to may risk the same. Imagine choosing Jesus and not only having to face the wrath of your parents but also the wrath of you own country and police.

But Jesus is that importnat. Salvation is that valuable. Hearing and sharing the gospel is that important.

Jesus came in love…filled up with it…and he came as representative to us of God’s love for us. But he also was willing to tell us things that would make us queasy and shake us up, because choosing faith in Jesus and his Father and accepting the holy spirit aren’t easy things. They come at a price. But the reward is so much greater than the price.

Christianity is meant to bring humans back into grace with God. It aint meant to bring people together on Earth. It can. And ideally it should. But sometimes, it is impossible to do both. We shouldn’t hear Jesus’s words that he comes to divide as being counter to his mission. It’s a recognition that what he offers isn’t always an easy pill to swallow. But few things of true value in this world ever come easy. So why should something that is of the next world be any easier?

6 thoughts on “The Great Divider by Miz Pink

  1. Deacon Blue

    Slacker! 😛

    I ought to fire you for posting late. Except I don’t pay you.

    Anyway, now I just have to decide if you posting today gets me off the hook so that I can be a slacker too, or should I post something later tonight? Ah well; we shall see.

    Interesting post today, Pink, because this is a passage that it’s really easy for us to overlook, ignore, stick in a corner and just pretend it doesn’t exist so that we don’t ever have to think about it. But it is so deep on so many levels. Rejecting Jesus before someone is really foul. Not all of us are strong enough to go out and shout Jesus from the rooftops, but we are supposed to be strong enough to not reject him or pretend we don’t have faith in him if the question is actually put to us.

    When I think of THAT part of the passage you talk about today, and when I link that to the part about family later on in that passage, I sometimes ask myself, “If a man were to put a gun to the head of my wife or one of my children and say ‘Tell me right now that Jesus was a fraud and that there is no son of God or I will pull this trigger.’ …what would I do?”

    It’s not something I like to ponder too much, and it’s a good thing I’m never likely to be faced with that choice. And now that I’ve even brought it up, Mrs. Blue will probably ask how I THINK I would answer in such a circumstance, and I stand a good chance of getting into trouble no matter how I answer.

    Crap. 😉

  2. Jeremy

    I have been recommending a book called “My Stroke of Insight – a Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey” by Jill Bolte Taylor and also a TEDTalk Dr. Taylor gave on the TED dot com site. And you don’t have to take my word for it – Dr. Taylor was named Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People, the New York Times wrote about her and her book is a NYTimes Bestseller), and Oprah did not 4 interviews with her.

  3. Deacon Blue

    Well, Jeremy, not really sure how that connects to the topic at hand, but I’ll give you a little leeway and clear you out of the spam queue anyway. 😉

  4. WNG

    Now I’ve been thinking about your hypothetical for most of the day and I HOPE that I would be able to stand firm on my faith, knowing that my husband and child would be together in Heaven and waiting for me there. But I REALLY HOPE that I’d also be able to spring at the gunman and knock the gun out of his hand and incapacitate him while I was declaring my faith (a little faith kung fu maybe).
    In reality I think I’d probably be silently praying for forgiveness while I said what was necessary to save my family. You never really know how strong you might be until you NEED to be. I truly pray that no one will have to make that choice, although I know it’s not impossible that somewhere on the Earth someone is right at this very minute.

  5. jsprik

    my husband(not to mention God) would truly be ashamed of me if i did not stand up for my faith in this situation!! i would not lie, i would have to say Jesus IS in fact the son of God and take courage in knowing the of the SOB did shoot, i would see my husband in heaven some day. i know that is not popular to say but, i’ve never been very popular anyway, so……….


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