Matthew 10:34-37 - (Jesus said) "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 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.
Jesus' words are scary: "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." What does that mean? Are we supposed to rank the people we love—and if so, how do we do that? And is there something wrong with me if I don't have the same warm and affectionate feelings for God as I do for my spouse or my child?
But that isn't what Jesus means at all. What He's talking about is the action part of love—the part that chooses, the part that makes decisions. His question is this: "When you have to make a decision between what I command you and what your loved one wants, which way will you go?"
This happens more often than you'd think, even in Christian families. Have you ever had a loved one come to you and beg you to bend the rules for them, just this one time? "I know it's wrong," they say, "and it's against God's Commandments, but I'm desperate. Just this one time, and never again."
Or sometimes it's a matter of priorities. The person you love wants to do X, but you yourself are convinced God absolutely wants you to do Y. I've known a family divided about whether they should take in an orphaned Down's syndrome child who was a relative. One spouse said yes, and the other said no, let him go into foster care. That marriage didn't survive.
These situations can test you like fire. Who, in the end, are you going to listen to? That is the one you love the most, in Jesus' sense of the word. That is the one you refuse to deny. And Jesus makes it clear that that person needs to be the Lord. Feelings don't matter—but choices do.
That sort of thing cuts like a knife. How can we bear it? Only with the help and comfort of the One who put us first, before His own human wants and needs—our Savior, Jesus. He understands the pain of a family embattled. He knows the heartbreak. But for our sake, He was willing to bear it—to be in conflict with His brothers, to be misunderstood by His mother, to be essentially homeless during His ministry years. He was looking forward to one thing—to rescuing you and all God's people, and bringing us safely into God's family.
If you are dealing with this kind of heartbreak, ask the Lord to help you lean on Him. He understands, and He can help you carry it. He loves you dearly—more dearly than His own life. He will help you.
THE PRAYER: When I face tough choices, dear Father, help me to do right. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When you have to make tough decisions, how do you find wisdom?
2. When have you faced a conflict between God's will and the will of someone you loved?
3. How do you see Jesus' love in His actions toward you and others?
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