Choosing Family Above God

By Edwin Christiaan

One of the pressing issues among Christians – which is in dire need of Biblical clarity – is the sensitive issue of people choosing to put family above God in their lives. When it comes to Biblical understanding of how our family relations should work, we are many times totally ignoring the obvious teachings of Jesus Christ, that cause us to see things in a sacrificial light rather than the humanistic peace-loving ideas we hold so strongly on to in our twisted perception of Christianity. Why don’t we accept Jesus’ words, instead of trying to avoid controversy, sacrifice, pain, and selfish unwillingness to truly be a disciple of Jesus that has laid our very lives down to follow Him no matter the cost?

Some months ago, we encountered a Christian lady, who deliberately, and against all the warnings God gave her, chose to maintain a relationship with her controlling and manipulative mother, well knowing that it only brought hurt, deception, and destruction into her own family. She knew it was wrong, and that God had spoken specifically to her about staying away from this toxic relationship, but for the sake of a disturbing pleasing type of love for her mother and to keep the peace, she blatantly disobeyed God. She ultimately feared her mother’s reaction and repercussion more than she feared God.

Jesus made it very clear when He said: “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. ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.'” (Luke 12:51-53 NLT)

In another passage in the Bible Jesus strongly warn us, saying that; “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27 NKJV)

This means you can never be a disciple of Jesus Christ if you love your family and your own life more than God! Whenever we love someone, ourselves, or something more than God it automatically becomes an idol in our hearts, and according to the Bible, idol worshipers will not enter the Kingdom of God.

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1. Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT

Ultimately, it comes down to whether we put God first in our lives and obey whatever He tells us do – even when it means to let go of a family member – or whether we put our own priorities above that of God. This will show whether we are a true disciple – follower of Christ, who will be fit for the Kingdom of God.

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”         
Luke 9:59-62 NLT

It was God, who unselfishly gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that everyone who believes in Him will enter Heaven.

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

God gave His son, and Jesus gave His life! Therefore, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are our ultimate examples of sacrifice, and they understand our pain and struggles when it comes to giving up somebody.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Hebrew 4:14-15 NLT

Abraham, for instance, suffered the same fate when God told him, through his wife Sarah, to send his own son Ishmael and his mother away. God told Abraham that He did not want Ishmael, whom Abraham conceived with his servant maid, to live together with his promised son Isaac. This news was very hurtful and upsetting to Abraham, but even so, Abraham obeyed God and sent his son Ishmael and the mother away.

So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave-woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!” This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Genesis 21:10-12 NLT

“Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba.” Genesis 21:14 NLT

Sometime later, God told Abraham to sacrifice his promised son Isaac, whom he loved very much. God was testing Abraham to see whether he loved God more than his son Isaac. And indeed, Abraham was willing to obey God even to the expense of his own son. God saw that, and stopped Abraham from hurting his son.

Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” Genesis 22:2 NLT

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.Genesis 22:12 NLT

Job gave a profound statement when God tested him by allowing Satan to take away all of his ten children and possessions in one day:

He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21 NLT

Following Jesus Christ means that we don’t have any rights; it’s all about what God says and wants to do in our lives. Yes, it’s all about Him, Him FIRST!!! Nobody and nothing should take the place of God in our hearts!

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” 1. John 5:21NLT

There is a cost for following Jesus Christ and that is to give up your own life, your own will and rights, as Jesus said: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:39 NLT)

But, there is also a reward for those who are willing to give up anything or anybody God asks of them:

“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29 NLT

Copyright©2012 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan