Question: I want to walk with God, but there is someone in my life who is making it very difficult. Even getting out the door to go to church turns into an argument. I usually just give up and stay home. Jesus would want me to keep the peace rather than making things worse – wouldn’t he?
Answer: The Bible does speak very clearly to your situation, but you may not like what it says.
First of all, your general desire to “keep the peace” is good. The Apostle Paul encourages all Christians to regard this as a very high priority in Romans 12:18, writing, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Read these words carefully, however. This verse does not anticipate that it will always be possible for you to keep the peace. Rather, it simply calls you to do your best when it comes to getting along with the people in your life.
That general principal being established, let us consider a more complicated and unhappy matter.
When Jesus called his disciples, he was perfectly honest with them about how difficult their lives were about to become. He said in all earnestness, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matt. 10:34-6).
The original disciples quickly found this to be true as their family members turned them in to the authorities and had them excommunicated from the local synagogues.
There are also millions of disciples today who continue to find this hard saying to be true. In some countries, those who confess Christ can expect their family members to call the police to have them arrested and executed.
In more civilized cultures, those who convert to Christianity can expect their families to disown them. Some traditions even involve conducting a funeral for the convert as a symbolic act of absolute loss and rejection.
In our American culture, if the worst thing we have to deal with on a daily basis is a snide remark or occasional argument, then we should probably just be grateful.
I realize this answer may not seem that comforting to you, but being a Christian is not supposed to be comfortable.
Anticipating that his disciples might not like what he had said about disrupting the peace of their households, Jesus issued one of the most challenging saying in the Bible:
“He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:37-39)
These verses call for a decision which every disciple has to make and I want to help you make the right decision, so I will put the question: Whom do you love more? Jesus or this person in your life? Whose approval do you desire most? His or theirs?
Again, I acknowledge that this may not be the kind of counsel you were seeking when you submitted your question, butI assure you that it is most needful.
Next time you find yourself embroiled in some useless debate fifteen minutes before worship is to begin, simply think to yourself, “Wow, I’m standing right in the middle of Matthew chapter 10! Jesus said this is what would happen and he was right. He now calls me to choose him, to take up my cross, and to follow him… so that is what I am going to do.”