Speaking the Truth in Love

Cut or Compliment

Image result for opposition Some Christians experience opposition to the faith in their own families. Parents, siblings, and even spouses may take devious pleasure in pointing out the flaws of church members or saying hurtful things about the teachings the church stands for. Anyone dealing with this discouragement is in excellent company.

Jesus himself initially lacked the support of his own half-brothers, the four sons of Joseph and Mary. A few months before the crucifixion, when the “feast of Tabernacles was at hand,” the Lord’s brothers said, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. […] If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” They said this because they “did not believe in him” (John 7:2-5).

What Jesus experienced offers encouragement to any believer troubled by rejection at home. Hostility to the church feels like a personal cut. There must be something wrong with me. If I were a better disciple, my family would respect the gospel message and obey it. Maybe. Maybe not. Isn’t it possible that the opposition is a compliment? The Lord’s teachings and life were perfect, and yet his own brothers mocked him.

Image result for jesus came to bring a swordWeathering a storm of antagonism may even indicate genuine faith and deep conviction. Jesus told his disciples that he came to bring not peace but a sword. “I have come,” he said, “to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 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” (Matt. 10:35-37).

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