“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:12-13)
The conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world is not one of polite disagreement; it is a fight to the death. It is a zero-sum game where one wins everything, and the other loses entirely. There is no compromise and no negotiated settlement. And the kingdom of God will prevail. But along the way, there will be losses. Relationships will suffer, and even family relationships may be broken. Jesus hid nothing from his disciples but explained the full truth of what was about to happen. We may not like to hear about it, but at least we know.
The reason for this conflict rests deep within the soul. Loyalty to Christ requires us to surrender our entire life to him. It is all or nothing for Jesus. In the kingdom of God, there can be no superficiality. And If you choose to follow Jesus without compromise, you may lose relationships. Family gatherings might get awkward. You may even be attacked by people you love. But take heart; Jesus understands! Jesus himself endured ridicule from his family. Early on, his own brothers and sisters thought he had lost his mind. It was not until after his death and resurrection that his siblings believed in him. One day, when his mother and brothers came to talk some sense into him, he turned to his disciples and said, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Stretching out his hand toward 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 12:48-50).
The loss of a relationship is one of the greatest costs of following Jesus. But Jesus will help you endure. Even as we experience the pain of loss, there is great compensation. Jesus has come to make us part of the family of God, and our kinship with other believers runs deeper than any other. Let your brotherhood and sisterhood with other believers be a healing balm to lessen the pain of loss and give you hope for the future.
Lord Jesus, thank you for making me part of the family of God. Help me to endure the loss of kinship with the people I love, even with those of my own family. Comfort me with knowing that the new relationships I have with the family of God will endure both now and into eternity.