"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me..."
~Matthew 8: 37~
This is one of those cases where the old saying is true: "It is easier said than done!"
Anyone can say they want to follow Jesus. However, not everyone fully realizes the true nature of the commitment which is required. We get some idea of this from verses like the one above. But it only serves to "scratch the surface" of this topic...
When someone decides to be a Christian, and lead a Godly life on Jesus' terms, immediately the "old" you must cease to exist. And all things connected to the old way of life will change as well. Sinful behavior has to go, and all things, including friends and family will have to come second to following the commands of the Lord.
We begin to understand this more completely with the words of (Matthew 10: 34-37), where we read:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law---a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
Strong words indeed! Does this mean Jesus is going to split up families? Is He saying we cannot love our earthly families? Before we get all excited, Jesus is simply saying this: It's fine to love your family, in fact, He commands us to do so. But there may be cases when some members won't believe and follow Jesus as you do.
In those situations, the Lord expects you to choose to follow Him first, dispite any troubles it may cause with those family members. The same holds true for friends. In fact, even if there are other persuits or activities we want to do before attending to our Christian duties, Jesus expects us to set them aside and tend to His work first.
"But that's not fair" we say. "How can He ask us to stand against our friends and family?" Well, the Lord Jesus Christ gave up His entire life for us, He put our needs ahead of His own desires. He loved His earthly family, but not ahead of His church and His heavenly Father. Therefore, in view of this, is He still wrong to ask this level of conviction from His followers?
Dedicating ourselves to following Jesus requires our first priority. And it has to be sincerely offered. He won't appreciate it if we give this consideration begrudgingly. So, before we say we'll follow our Lord's will, we'd better be sure we know the costs involved, and are willing to pay them!
For those who are truely sincere about doing so, a rich reward awaits them!
I liked this post very much. Some of it reminds me of the famed Gospel of St Thomas (just a bit). This line is what caught my eye In those situations, the Lord expects you to choose to follow Him first, dispite any troubles it may cause with those family members. The same holds true for friends. In fact, even if there are other persuits or activities we want to do before attending to our Christian duties, Jesus expects us to set them aside and tend to His work first. Being an Opus Dei Catholic, I could not agree more with you and commend you on this post. BRAVO!