By Allen White
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50
Either Jesus was starting some sort of cult or He was just a hot head who didn’t like to be interrupted. Actually, He was neither.
Unlike a cult, Jesus doesn’t ask His followers to abandon their families to follow Him. He wasn’t brainwashing anybody. In fact, several times in the Bible entire households come to faith together (Acts 18:8).
And, Jesus wasn’t irritated at the unannounced visit by His family. He wasn’t dishonoring his family. Jesus was proving a point.
When He asked the question, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” He suddenly had their attention. Jesus took this moment to redefine how the kingdom of God interfaced with families.
There is no more important relationship than a person’s relationship with God. Ahead of marriage, family or extended family, God comes first. Now, it’s a huge plus if family members have also put Christ first in their lives. But, whether they have or not, we give deference to Christ, before we heed the wishes of family. But, this is not license to become a jerk for Jesus.
Ultimately, in Heaven our families of origin will disappear completely. The Bible says we’ll be just like the angels, who aren’t married (Matthew 22:30). Now, according to the account in Heaven is For Real, people will recognize each other. I guess we’ll see.
Our families are important. The Bible has much to say about honoring our spouses (Ephesians 5) and our parents (Deuteronomy 5:16). This is not permission to blow out your marriage while you burn out for Jesus. I’ve seen that happen, and God wasn’t honored in the process.
The question really comes down to influence. Whose opinions matter the most in our lives? Do we follow God or follow our mamma? Do we live to please our Heavenly Father or our earthly father? What are we trying to prove?
If what we’re hearing from God through His Word and through prayer seems to conflict with what we’re getting from our significant other, which way do we go? Our best bet is going back on our knees for more guidance.
Few things in our life will call for us to disappoint our spouse in order to obey God. God works in the whole of our lives to make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). Even if your spouse is a non-believer, the Bible says to stay in the relationship in hopes of winning your spouse (1 Corinthians 7:14), unless it’s an abusive situation – get out!
How does your faith sometimes conflict with your family relationships? Why? What’s out of line? Is your thinking clear in what you believe God wants you to do? Or is there a selfish part of you that’s getting in the way? Or maybe it’s a fearful part?
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