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FAMILY CONFLICTS: Was Jesus in favor of family conflicts?

Was Jesus in favor of family conflicts?

Jesus said, “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” (Mt 10:35). Jesus’ intention or the purpose of his gospel is not family conflict. Family disputes can arise as an outcome of the opposing views among members of the family concerning the Church he established. If a person joins the Church, other members of the family might oppose it. Or conflict can occur in a family when someone leaves the Church while others insist on the person keeping the faith. If we look at this against the background of Church persecution when the evangelists were completing the gospels, there were dropouts from the Church who compelled members of their family to give up their faith. Their intention was to prevent persecution and martyrdom for their dear ones. Thus, there was conflict within a family between those who were firm in faith and others who deserted the gospel. Such a dispute within the family can emotionally hurt, like the wounds caused by a sword.

Jesus makes a reference to Micah who prophesied, “For the son belittles his father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and your enemies are members of your household” (Mic 7:6). Though such conflict is natural in families, Jesus attributes this to family disputes concerning the faith.

Though there can be enmity among family members, the cause of conflict here is based on faith in Jesus. Because of opposing views on religion, a disciple’s opponents can be members of one’s own family. During the severe persecution, those members of the family who oppose the Church might betray the members of their own family who uphold the Christian faith. “Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:21- 22). Thus, Jesus foresaw the future of the Church and warned his followers about what they could expect in this world. However, he promised eternal reward to those who would persist to the end.

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