Matthew 10 37 ‘Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will find it.
This is one of the hardest areas to write about for me. I love approval. More than that I love the approval of parents. I love to know I am doing a good job, from their perspective. I love to have their blessings and well wishes. This was my aim until Christ confronted me with the Word. For me, choosing to disobey my parents or go against the often pagan customs of my in-law family, that is the traditions and things that have no absolutely value for godliness-“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8-wears me down. It’s a cross that is heavy, especially for someone like myself who prides herself on being “obedient.” It makes me feel weary. Time after time it is the reason I am “outside the gate” so to speak, with Jesus.
Bucking earthly authority is often one of the most loving things we can do to show our affections for the Lord when our authorities on earth offer us guidance or even give us direct commands that disobey Jesus. This shows our true allegiance. Whether we are loyal to the infinite God or mortal man. I would have given anything else for my parents. But they asked for my highest loyalty that belongs to Christ and that was not for sale.
Deuteronomy 13 1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them”, 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere… 6 If your very own brother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.
Judges 6 14 The LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you? 15 ‘But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. 16 The LORD answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.’ 25 that same nights the LORD said to him, ‘Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.’ 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. 28 In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar! 29 They asked each other, ‘Who did this?’ When they carefully investigated, they were told, ‘Gideon son of Joash did it.’ 30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, ‘Bring out your son. He must die, becuse he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.’
Shockingly, but not really because Jesus did have to come for a reason, these folks Gideon is dealing with-these family members who are worshiping false gods-are Israel. These are the religious folks. God’s nation if in name only. The story is one example of how we may even face pressure to yield to false gods from our parents and family who claim to be followers of God themselves. The people Gideon was standing up to, though Israel in name, were immediately ready to ruthlessly defend their falsehood. They couldn’t be wrong. They are only ever right. Gideon needs to change. Gideon is the one out of line. But is he?
Matthew 5 11 ‘ Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Thank you Lord, Jesus, for the honor that we can lend YOU our own bodies, that we can lend YOU our lives, so that You can take the persecution from enemies who are really yours and not ours and so that You can offer those same enemies who persecute you NEW LIFE! Let us do the same with our persecutors. Let us extend the right hand of fellowship. Let us welcome them into our lives with open arms if they repent of their wrong doing towards us, as you welcome us back when we repent. Let them not stay persecutors but soften their hearts towards YOU LORD JESUS I PRAY.
Do note that these scriptures are from the Bible. Are you “christian” enough to live them out? See what God is speaking to us through the law. Is it with stoning that God is directing our attention to or with righteousness and keeping a blameless heart? God is urging us to hate sin and to separate ourselves from the unrepentant sinner-even if that person is a dear family member. As a believer, our loyalty to God is so high above every other relationship-even our parents and our spouse. It is as if we hate them.
Luke 14 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Now, in the time we are living in most of us here in America will not experience our parents saying to us literally “let us follow other gods.” However, you may experience them questioning decisions you make that are based on faith and confirmation you have received from God’s Word and God’s Holy Spirit. They may urge you to obey certain customs or rituals in your marriage or how you celebrate holidays that aren’t found in scripture. But they make it clear that if you don’t do them they will not be pleased and that their pleasure or displeasure is evidently is something you should care about and change your life to accommodate. The very god (which is really no god at all) they may try to get you to follow may be their own opinion and the delights of their own hearts. Parents are people. Human people. They have God-sized holes in their hearts like everyone else and they are looking to get them filled. Sometimes they look to their children-even adult children-and ask their children to give into their unbiblical preferences and demand because they are your parents after all. What does God’s Word say, though?
We love God so much more that there is NO compromise of God in these relationships. In other words, we do not reject parts of God to make the “relationship” work. The idea that God wants the relationship to be good as an end in and of itself is contrary to scripture.
Mathew 10 34 ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
God wants glory from our relationships. God gets glory when we love Him more than we love the relationships.
Do you have a heart for these scriptures? Can you put your parents on the altar of your heart? If your parents are no longer with you, did you ever put them on the altar before God, giving up your claim to their approval and replacing them on the throne of your heart with the Lord Jesus, as in “Not my will but your will be done Lord”? Jesus alone is worthy to be there. The choice is clear, but the costs are high.
Joshua 24 14 ‘Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’