|Matthew 10:34-38 |
34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not came to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man at variance against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law.
37 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.2
38 He who does not take his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me. [To follow after Him is to expose yourself to the Lord's commands and then obey Him; to obey all of his commands, you must love the Lord more than you love your family; so, despite their opposition, you obey his commands — that is following Him. To follow Christ you must sit in humble silence to wait on Him as you listen for Him to speak to you from his word within your heart; when you hear Him, then you must obey Him. Self-denial occurs by obeying the Lord's commands heard instead of your will, (His will, not your will); this is the cross — the inward cross of self-denial.]
2 Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not came to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man at variance against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law. 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. A man's foes will be those of his own household. And you must want to please the Lord more than those who oppose you.
Luke makes the point strongly: "If any man comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters — yes even his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26. When you are a true seeker of God, denying your former evil activities in the world, (including the defict sects), the basis of your friendships will diminish. As you deny foul language, revelry, drinking, carousing, etc., your friends and family will become uncomfortable and begin to attack your commitment to goodness. If you and your spouse have been attending a deficit sect, your spouse may become your worst enemy, leaving you or threatening to leave you. Your family will be used to attack you; they will be your enemies and are the sword that Jesus spoke of. This is part of the cross, to suffer from your family's opposition. You must want the approval of God more than the approval of your fellow men, particularly your family. But the sword that allows you to be attacked is to teach you to have patience, forgive, have mercy, love, and live by faith. From the Word of the Lord within: "after a man has demonstrated his faith, do I give him peace."
When someone becomes convinced of the true hope, the true gospel, and the only way; and when they leave their deficit sect, several of their spouses have threatened to leave, a few even leaving. Most spouses get over their opposition and have even heard from the Lord of their spouse's correct seeking of Him. The Lord has no desire to destroy a marriage, so things usually work out; but it is a painful trial at least. The maxim of the world in negotiation is: the party that is afraid of losing a negotiation is the party that loses. Count the costs, and be ready to forsake anything and everything of your former life.
The Lord has to show us each and every problem we have, many that are hidden, and lead us, (by moving the world around us if necessary), to feeling the pain of our problems — pain so great that when we are tempted, instead of a trigger to fail, it becomes a trigger to succeed. The sooner you understand that everything that happens to you has been arranged to help you grow, the sooner you will be able to forgive, and the sooner you will be at peace, rather than angry or resentful. This life is an illusion. God is far more powerful and at work around you than you can imagine. For those whom he loves and calls, he controls everything around them. (This arrangement of circumstances only occurs for those whom he loves and calls.) And if you have a deep hunger, he loves you and has called you. The hunger is his gift to you. It is his way of drawing you to him. So you will starve and mourn, and starve and mourn. But you will eventually be filled and comforted. It works. Trust Him. He created you. He is in you. He knows you much better than you do. He will change you to be like Him, leading you to purity and then to union with Him in the Kingdom within, where you walk by the Light of God.
From the word of the Lord within: "Live in the fortress of faith where it doesn't matter if someone gives you a kiss or hits you with a baseball bat," knowing everything that happens to you is totally under his control and direction. So if you get hit with a baseball bat, he is teaching you the necessity of forgiving, to ignore it, despite the pain suffered and wrongness of the person wielding the bat. Your life is an obstacle course, designed by God, for you to crawl over and through, learning to forgive and love despite the pain and injustice. This life is a boot camp to produce a soldier of love, whose weapon will be the sword of the Spirit, the word of God planted in your heart. When you realize it is God who has allowed that person to be rude, ugly, and painful to you, you can easily forgive them because they are just an obstacle of potential resentment, whose offense is to be overlooked, (or if not overlooked, to produce the pain of resentment), thus being used by God to help you spiritually progress.