Family Values. We can learn a lot from the gospel…

Family Values.

We can learn a lot from the gospel accounts of Jesus and his thoughts on and relationship with his family. On one hand we see him calling those who “do the will of His Father” the members of his family, while on the other we see him caring for the members of his family even at his death. Jesus spoke often of the cost of discipleship including a forsaking even of ones own family. At the same time he spoke that honoring one’s mother and father was an important commandment. In Jesus’ mind one should not even tend to the tying up of family matters, but focus on the preaching of the kingdom. However, Jesus appeared to his brother after his resurrection and he became a leader of the early church.

Family can be the strongest bond that ties people together. Parents will sacrifice greatly for their children. Grown children are often devoted to the care of their elderly parents. Our brothers and sisters become our best friends and closest confidants.

But what if this unwavering allegiance gets in the way of our service of God? What if our family members do not believe? Should we justify our relatives’ sinful behavior out of our love for them? These questions are very practical and relevant for many of us. We must seek the LORD on these important matters so His wisdom can guide us and our love for them does not blind our assessment of the circumstances.

I believe Jesus’ view of family values is based on his belief in approaching of the end of age. One should not be tied down to the things of this life and thus not live in light of the Kingdom. At the same time, it is the servants and children who will be exalted during the Messianic rule and it is critical for his followers to adopt those positions now. We should honor our parents, love our brothers and sisters, and care for the widows.

For the disciple, this honor and love is understood in light of the greater apocalyptic context. One who follows Christ must forsake all for him and his Kingdom gospel, including family. The one we love with all of our heart and in all we do is our God. The one we serve is our Lord, the Messiah. God, knowing the importance of the family for our desire to belong and be connected with others for love and instruction, uses the church in this way. The church becomes the new family we identify with even when our biological families are not members. The older men are to provide leadership and good examples for the younger while the older women lead the younger to understand their role as well. The younger men and women in turn help the older and encourage and strengthen the weak.

Forsaking all to follow Christ is a great task. God has designed the church to function as a family to replace the family the disciples forsake. In turn the disciple will find a new family and community.

Mark 10:28-31- Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

For some interesting thoughts on a similar subject, read a current Newsweek article on “How Jewish Family Values Shaped Christianity

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by JohnO on December 12, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    I think we have to look at all things in light of the Kingdom. The article does a good job in understanding that is what Jesus, the first disciples, and Paul were doing. They were looking at this apocalypse – felt it was close, believed it – and let that shape their entire life. Not just a part of their life, but every ounce of it.

    Today people’s religious beliefs hardly impact their life! “Christians” are the worst. The only visible mark of most Christians is that they spend an hour and a half in a building on sunday. What kind of a change is that? The apocalyptic view of Jesus has not changed their life at all. They are no closer to Jesus than the guy who watches cartoons for an hour and a half on sunday morning.

    Reply

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