They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
A House Divided
Many people mistakenly think that the Bible teaches the brotherhood of man and the universal fatherhood of God. This is not in the Bible at all. In fact, Jesus said that He came to bring division and not peace (Luke 12:51). Why does He say this? Some come to saving faith in Christ ahead of other members of their family, and they might be the only one in their family who has trusted in Christ. When this happens, there is automatically friction, as there always is between those who are saved and those who are not. Jesus reminds us that if they hate you, they hated Him first (John 15:18). Even further, He says that you will be hated by everyone because of Him, so we shouldn’t take it personally (Matt 10:22). If the world loves you, including your own unsaved family members, then something is very wrong (John 15:19).
Hating the Message and Not the Messenger
When I share the gospel with the lost, the vast majority reject what I say, and sometimes they get very angry with me, but I realize that they really hate the message and not me, the messenger. The gospel necessarily creates hostility between those who do not love God and those who worship and love Christ. When Jesus said that we’d be hated by everyone, He meant everyone who doesn’t hear His words, and the “everyone” can certainly be those in our own family. Jesus said that if He had not come to speak about sin, they wouldn’t have hated Him. But if we didn’t tell others about the wrath of God that abides on everyone who refuses to believe in Him (John 3:36b), then they would never be convicted in their conscience of their sin (John 15:22). It would be better for them to hate the message than to have apathy toward it because if they get angry, at least you know that their conscience is convicting them. The opposite of love is not hate; it is apathy or indifference.
Peace, No; a Sword, Yes
Jesus says that He has chosen us out of the world, so the world will naturally hate us (John 15:19). If you are being persecuted for your faith, remember that they did the same to Jesus (John 15:20). If we are never scorned, persecuted, or hated and everyone loves us, then we are either being an underground secret-agent Christian or we are not being a disciple of Christ. If you are under persecution, you should rejoice because at least you know that you’re on the right side of heaven. Jesus never promised peace in the home for those who love Him, but it will be “father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:53). Jesus once said that when others speak lies about you, accuse you falsely, revile you, and speak all kinds of evil things about you, then you are actually blessed (Matt 5:11). The fact is to be insulted for Jesus’ sake brings the blessing of the Spirit of glory to rest upon you (1 Pet 4:14). Don’t you want that? I do.
A Closing Prayer
Righteous Father in heaven, please help me to know that it is really the message they hate and not the messenger; that if they hate me, it is because they hated you first; and that if the world loves me, then I may still be part of the world. So help me to see their persecution and hate as evidence that I love You, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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