I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.
But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.'
Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of Me, and two against...or two in favor and three against.
Maybe the hardest lesson Jesus taught (because it pushes against our instincts of what decent people ought to value)... is our family's redefinition.
'Jesus asked, 'Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?' Then He pointed to His disciples and said, 'Look, these are My mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother!' ' (Matthew 12:48-50, NLT).
Consider a thought provoking question... and an answer I find hard to perform.
Q: How can Jesus pray for our unity,* but also say He came to divide us?
A: My thought: He's dividing true believers from pretenders that may damage the church.
Here's my uncomfortable conclusion: Although God says we must care for our kin, we must love Father and Son above all. Next?
* Our family in Christ and our neighbors (within close physical proximity).
* Our blood family (blood with a small 'b')... comes behind these other categories... unless our blood family is in Christ.
Why? I think most adults have seen the 'why': if not at home, then at other homes, where...
Sinking ships filled with family wreckage pull well-meaning believers into pits. Misplaced priorities invite problems:
1) Believers who enable kin harm them... by not letting them feel the full impact of hitting rock bottom, and rising up.
2) Believers miss their own best destinies... the callings and missions God made for them, therein missing the joy of fruitful lives.
3) Believers reveal their own lack of faith... by doubting God's ability to help their families far better than they can.
## Bearing Division (Part 7)
Christ's pre-crucifixion prayer in John 17 is a cry-out for unity:
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Bearing series.