I suspect most of us have encountered them. Those families that seem to be perfect. Husband and wife express love for each other. The kids are well behaved. They might have come right off a TV script. Maybe depending on your own family background you longed to be a part of that family. It is certainly true that when a family is led by God’s principles, there is a greater chance for harmony. I am extremely grateful that ours was so led. Many families experience seasons of tranquility, but I think if we could look a little deeper, we’d find there’s brokenness in all of them. They are after all made up of broken people.
I have been thinking about this lately, as my own family has experienced it in ways we never could have imagined would happen to us. It got me thinking about what Jesus said.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. (Matt 10:34-36)
We usually read this thinking about the obvious difference between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not, but there’s another level here. Everyone who whom Jesus was speaking would say they were followers of Yahweh. They were Jews, God’s chosen people. The division here is between Jew and Jew of the same family and presumably the same religion. The difference is Jesus.
Jesus causes another kind of division within families. It is between those who profess to follow Him and those who practice it. Jesus also said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” (Matt 13:57) When we insist on the truth, we may be called liars. When we choose good over evil, love over hatred, and mercy over judgment, we may find it just as he said. Our most deadly enemies will come from our own family.
That isn’t to say there is not brokenness all around. Sometimes the problem is that no one is in the right. The solution, however, is the same. We must all examine our hearts. We must all be willing to confess our own sin and in turn offer forgiveness. Sometimes it seems that relationships are broken beyond repair. I confess to feeling that way. God is going to have to do a miracle for us, but He is able to do that, and we all pray for that miracle.