The Bible has harsh things to say about those who put family before Jesus …
- Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:37)
- “To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:59-62)
- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
The Bible has harsh things to say about those who put Jesus before family …
- “And he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.” But you say, “If a man tells his father or his mother, ‘Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’” (that is, given to God)– then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.’” (Mark 7:9-13)
- “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
So how are we to understand what Jesus wants with regard to our commitments to both Him and to the families He has given us? Here is what I’ve concluded …
- If my commitment to my family keeps me from fulfilling a Scripturally-defined commitment to Jesus, my commitment to my family is inappropriate and must yield to my commitment to obey Jesus.
- If my commitment to Jesus keeps me from fulfilling a Scripturally-defined commitment to my family, my commitment to Jesus is fundamentally wrong-headed and must yield to the commandments of God to care for my family.
So I need to ask myself some questions, prayerfully before God and honestly assessing my family’s needs …
- Am I using love for or loyalty to my family to avoid obeying clear commands of God?
- Am I using commands of God to dismiss what may be costly service in the care of my family?
- How can my love for and fidelity to Jesus fuel an increasingly righteous, faithful, genuine, and sacrificial love for the family members He has surrounded me with?
- If I am growing in my love for Jesus, how ought that find expression in my relationship to my family?
- If I love my family as they desire me to, how will that affect my relationship to Jesus?