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Family Conflicts Based on Faith


Jesus told his apostles, “Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death” (Mk 13:12). Jesus predicted family conflicts based on differences in faith because members of one family can be split as Christians and Jews. That will end up in one’s own family members betraying the believer for trial, torture, imprisonment, and martyrdom. In this context, Jesus taught, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26). Love of God and faithfulness to the gospel have priority over family relations. Jesus also experienced this. John recorded: “his brothers did not believe in him” (Jn 7:5).

Jesus said, “You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mk 13:13). Because of the firm faith in Jesus, the disciple might face hatred from parents, siblings, spouse, or children. This was prevalent during the early centuries when the Jews were fervent in their faith and persecution of Christians by the Jews and Romans was quite severe. Jesus consoled his disciples ahead of time, saying, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you” (Jn 15:18-19). Jesus gives the reason for hatred and persecution from others: “They will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me” (Jn 15:21). Lack of proper understanding of God and the one He sent is the reason for hatred from the family.

Hatred, betrayal, and persecution are worth enduring for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven” (Mt 5:11-12; Lk 6:22-23). Though we attain salvation through baptism, we need persistence of faith and endurance amid persecution for our salvation and eternal bliss in heaven.

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