Faith and Family Feud

Let’s admit it. Most Christians really do not believe what is in their own Bibles. Sure, they give lip service to Scripture all the time. They claim to be Bible-believing Christians, and they may even take their Bibles to church (well, some still do – but not many nowadays).

The sad truth is, most Christians may have read their Bible plenty, but it has become just like another book. Its power to speak to us like a bolt of lightning has been lost, and we simply have become rather bored with old truths. We take the Word of God for granted, and it no longer touches our souls as it was meant to do.

We have become so familiar with its basic writings that they no longer impact us. The reality is, we need to approach the Bible as if we have never read it before, and let it hit us as it was meant to do. That was the experience of many people as new Christians, but now the Bible has become a tired old book which no longer has words of fire.

All we can really do here is repent and ask God to forgive us for taking his Word so cavalierly and treating it just like any other bit of literature. We need to let the Bible shock us once again. Yes the Bible is a shocking book. A revolutionary book. An explosive book.

If we could simply go back and read the words of Jesus as if for the very first time, it would change our lives – forever. He said some of the most revolutionary things you will ever hear – but now they are all but tired clichés for most Christians.

There are so many radical words of Jesus we could consider here. Let me highlight just a few, and just from the book of Matthew. These are some of the hard words of Jesus:

Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Matthew 19:21-23 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

family feudWe have read these verses a million times now, so they have lost their punch. We gloss over them, yawn, and go back to business as usual. That is not how it should be my friends. But let me look at just one more verse, one that seems so very relevant in today’s climate. It is Matthew 10:34-39:

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 their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Now this is a radical word – it is a radical call to a life of radical discipleship. Yet most of us don’t believe it for a minute. “Oh, Jesus doesn’t really mean this” we say. We try to explain it away or simply pretend it is not there. But it is there and we must deal with it.

Much ink has been spilled on what Jesus intends here. I don’t want to get into all those debates. Let’s just believe Jesus for a change. There are times when to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ will mean we will have to renounce, or be willing to lose, family allegiances. Yes, even family.

Don’t get me wrong: family is certainly important, and I defend this God-given institution all the time. However, sometimes to follow Christ will mean having to break fellowship, even with family members. Sometimes the greatest divisions will be found in our own households.

I have found this so often of late with the issue of homosexuality. Those Christians who have decided to stand with Christ and his Word increasingly are finding themselves at odds with their own family members. Some are being renounced, disowned, shunned or hated by their own parents or siblings or close relatives.

For standing true to the Bible and its teachings on human sexuality, many believers are being attacked and persecuted within their own families. This is the tragic but true reality of many disciples of Christ, and the very sort of thing Jesus was speaking about.

I see this happening all the time in the social media. I hear one heartbreaking story after another of those brave Christians who are being denounced and disowned by their own families because of the adherence to the biblical truth on homosexuality. It is heartbreaking to hear about all these cases, but it is the sort of thing Jesus certainly had in mind when he made this radical pronouncement.

One Catholic writer, Rebecca Hamilton, has just written on this very matter in her piece, “Gay Marriage Sets Friend Against Friend, Brother Against Brother.” Let me quote from this valuable article. She quotes the words of Jesus as found in John 21:15: “Do you love me more than these?” and then begins:

The good ‘ole Supreme Court may have outdone itself in destruction to this country.
Their decision on gay marriage has set friend against friend and brother against brother.
I wrote a post about this earlier. But I’ve continued to hear from people who are concerned about their own families and friendships falling apart since then. So, I’m going to write about it again, in a more personal way this time.
Catholics in high places at Catholic institutions have announced their own gay “weddings.” This is clear rebellion against the Church by those who are tasked with teaching theology to future generations of Catholics. I can’t say it any more bluntly than that. In the meantime, far too many of our priests are either staying silent or actually giving tacit support to gay marriage.
The business of Catholic institutions allowing this behavior from their employees is a scandal of gigantic, Church-destroying proportions. Church institutions that actually teach against something as core as the nature of the family, and who allow their prominent teachers to publicly practice and celebrate defying these teachings, are bankrupt to the core.
There is one small gleam of light in this. We can now see why the children we have sent to our Catholic institutions of higher learning have been absorbed by the cultural nihilism rather than protected against it. It was because of these people and their defiance of the Church, hollowing out our institutions from the inside.
So how are we, out here in the pews, supposed to live out our faith with this anti-Christ leadership coming from the top? More to the point, how do we manage to deal with the onslaught of pressure and blackmail to abandon our beliefs that is coming at us from our dearest friends?

She shares some of her own personal experiences about this, then concludes with these helpful words:

So. What advice do I, an abysmal failure at keeping my gay friends, have to share with you?
My first advice is to go ahead and be up front. I wish I had never dipped and dodged at all.
My second advice is to realize that you are going to have to choose. Choose Christ, or choose them. They will not let you have both.
My third advice is don’t get too close to your friends on the other side of the culture wars. I know this is harsh, scalding and terrible advice. But if you confide in someone in today’s world, the culture wars may very well turn and turn and then that someone will be your hate-filled, spiteful enemy on a vengeance trek to destroy you. Every tender thing you ever told them could end up coming back at you as a bullet, aimed at trying to publicly humiliate, degrade and destroy you.
It is sad, it is terrible, to say that. But it is true.
We are going to have to choose. Their demands are the winnowing fork John the Baptist prophesied.
Christ, or them? You choose.
I choose Christ. I may dither and try to keep from offending people in order to hang onto them as friends. But if they force me to it, I will choose Christ.
And every single time I choose Christ, I cut another cord that has kept me in touch with that other life, that life before my conversion. Every single time I choose Christ, I suffer the loss of the person I am not choosing. A few of them, like my friend, are wounds that feel like amputations. Even after the emotional blood has stopped running, I feel the loss.
There is no salve for this. It is a real and painful sacrifice for following Christ. It is our own Gethsemane.
The rewards are eternal and temporal, both at once. Christ has promised us rewards in heaven, but that is not what motivates me. My motivation is simply that I love Jesus. He saved me from eternal death and He forgave my unforgivable sins. He loved me from death to life and He continues to love and guide me each step of my way to Him.
I love Jesus.
And that is the most important reward, not some nebulous reward in the future, but the concrete reality of loving Him and being loved by Him now, in this life.
Do you love me more than these? He asked Peter — and us.
The answer has to be yes.

www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2015/07/gay-marriage-sets-friend-against-friend-brother-against-brother/

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22 Replies to “Faith and Family Feud”

  1. I would ask this question to those of my close friends and family who don’t share my biblical views on SSM.
    Since we know that this issue is pitting friend against friend, splitting families and making previously upstanding, law-abiding citizens into potential criminals, how can the issue be for the good of society? The author of such schisms, especially when it’s splitting the family, the very glue and binder if society, cannot be anyone but the Enemy. How come it is so obvious?

  2. Wow – After reading this I feel that someone has been eavesdropping on my pain over the past couple of weeks. Only last night I received what would be the most hurtful, judgmental message imaginable from my own daughter, even though she is a (liberal) Christian and, as such, supposedly free from judging others! Those words of Jesus kept echoing through my mind as I tried to sleep. And although I would not – could not – deny Christ, the pain of seeing my own adult child turn away and ridicule my faith, seeing it as nothing more than bigotry, narrow-mindedness and yes, even hatred, is almost unbearable. So yes, Rebecca’s words ring only too true.

  3. Absolutely, we know what we have to do but it is painful. May God protect us and help us as we make these “hard” choices. In fact it is not the choices that are hard it is the consequences.

  4. I think that if you consider the examples the Rebecca has listed you will see that from both sides of the argument the choices are similar. I.e. When I mention the bible to homesexuals they may very well begin to dislike me or even call me a bigot or even try eventually to shout me down. Because they have listened o the Gospel of homosexuality and have been convinced of their own “sanctity by the proliferation of their own rule book that the Prophet Of Sodom has handed down to them. In essence they turn away from true biblical friends to an end where they persecute the true believers of Christ. That is their decision and at some time they make a decision to forsake all Christian friends and turn against them for trying to save them.
    The Christian too must make that decision to turn away from the evil of the sodomites who follow the beliefs of their deviations and who use vehement propaganda and often violence in their attempts to subdue and ridicule the Christian and often Jesus himself.
    Faced with such opposition or with friends and family in their acceptance of the Gay agender we too have a choice to make and that is to standfast with Jesus and his teachings which are the words of his father our loving God.
    There is a picture which hangs in a gallery somewhere which gives a glimpse of the painters perspective of a soul on its way to heaven, It is travelling alone on its way to the Light of Gods throne.
    Revelations 20:11
    Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it from who’s face the earth and heaven fled away.
    When we leave this mortal coil we will be totally alone no friends or family to travel beside us on the journey home.
    There will be no letters of reference from those who lived beside us to say what a good fellow we were. It is our book of life on which we will be judged not friends or family, nor brothers and sisters but just us and our faithfulness to God.
    This is where we must stand in life as we will in death neither turned or corrupted by the tares of this world.
    In this world we see today I have seen the wonder of the true christian who stands before the executioner in faith and love and fears not the evil of the sick and demented that will soon loose his head. For god said Fear not those that can kill the body but not the soul, But fear God who can do both. Losing a misguided friend is nothing to compare to the faith of such people. May I one day be as true and not turned for fear of losing a friend.

  5. Our political leaders and sodomists claim that queers will strengthen and re -invigorate the failing institution of marriage and that they will bring new insights and gifts to it. But they have not said what these are.

    However, Out proud, gay Professor Eric Anderson at Winchester University explains in his book, ‘The Monogamy Gap’ exactly how he and the sodomists are the key to bringing social cohesion, security and stability to marriage and family life.
    In his book, which he advertises on numerous TV programmes and written articles, he says that research tells him that no couple can satisfy one another sexually for long and hence rather than cheat and cause tensions in the relationship, marriage is actually strengthened when both partners are allowed to have open marriages [1].

    This view is supported by Baroness Stowell who has declared that in order to create an inclusive society, the public should not expect the new definition of marriage to include faithfulness and monogamy [2]

    Inevitably this releases children into the trade of gay fostering and adoption agencies like Core Assets, which apparently also creates a more diverse and yet unified society [3]. And as we know Anderson himself not only loves having sex with boys of 16 and 17 years but is a supporter of the paedophilia lobby group, B4U-ACT.

    Nevertheless as ‘an internationally renowned gay scholar who publishes widely on sexualities, masculinities, sport and relationships,’ Anderson claims that he is recognised for research excellence by the British Academy of Social Sciences. He was the chief scientific research officer for a company called Ashley Madison, which specialises in helping married couples to be unfaithful to their partners. [4]

    He is also an advocate for pornography, this too will apparently strengthen marriage.
    In an article entitled, ‘Why men must be free to embrace their inner slut,’ the Evening Standard reports,
    ‘He’s frankly delighted that porn helps make monogamy seem even more obviously boring and untenable: “I suggest that the pornification of society, the early age at which we begin sex, and the marvellous psychosocial effect of the internet have made us all grow somewhat desensitised to monogamous sex. But instead of problematising the pornification of our culture, I celebrate it, suggesting that it both liberates and improves our sexual selves.” To this end, he supplies a long list of handy websites for “those looking to hone their masturbation skills”’ [5]

    Homosexuality is indeed the Marxists’ weapon of choice for destroying the West, before stepping in to create a unified and totalitarian state. Those who do not learn from history are forced to repeat it.

    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bal5VDG3R9A
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt6AGxc7LBM http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/masculinity-today/201203/the-monogamy-gap-men-love-and-the-reality-cheatinghttp://chopperpapa.com/2012/01/he-cheated-and-why-its-your-fault/v) http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/mar/01/monogamy-gap-eric-anderson-review

    [2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10133269/Fidelity-not-necessarily-important-in-marriage-suggests-peer.html

    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXYThi-g14k

    [4] http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/08/15/sex-lies-and-science-how-a-toronto-based-infidelity-site-is-testing-the-limits-of-what-constitutes-social-sciences/
    http://time.com/3120241/ashley-madison-cheaters-site-spies-on-its-users/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrG9YhLjY3A

    [5] http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/books/why-men-must-be-free-to-embrace-their-inner-slut-7545039.html

    David Skinner UK

  6. Rebecca’s third piece of advice is chilling:
    “My third advice is don’t get too close to your friends on the other side of the culture wars. I know this is harsh, scalding and terrible advice. But if you confide in someone in today’s world, the culture wars may very well turn and turn and then that someone will be your hate-filled, spiteful enemy on a vengeance trek to destroy you. Every tender thing you ever told them could end up coming back at you as a bullet, aimed at trying to publicly humiliate, degrade and destroy you.”

    If we read the story Richard Wurmbrand in his book, “In God’s Underground,” this is exactly his experience. We will be betrayed by those we spoke to openly and freely, including our family members, during these flickering days of freedom of speech. As with Jesus Christ they will twist, lie and testify against us when we are brought before the courts.

    David Skinner UK

  7. Recently I was talking to a Catholic acquaintance, who told me that after a recent discussion with her priest , she was informed that he was pro homo marriage. Later, visiting a certain protestant denomination for the first time , it seemed the sermon was a tentative approach to soften the congregation up for accepting homo marriage. Things are certainly ramping up.–Which is the most dangerous to the Brethren,homo marriage or islam?? What a gruesome question.

  8. Truly Excellent Article Bill,
    Some profound truths in here.

    If Christian’s are so easily deceived by the World on homosexuality how will they cope when the Antichrist establishes a false one world religion, that is, a complete mish mash of Christianity, Islam and Judaism that denies Jesus Christ as central to salvation .

    In summary many won’t.

    They will be deceived and tragically accept a lie instead of reality and criticality of Jesus Christ, lover of our souls.

    Thanks again.
    If we have to walk away from friends that are stumbling blocks and blockages to walk with Christ sadly despite the pain, that is what we must do.

    Phil

  9. Bill, how right you are! How on earth did we get to our “I’m okay, you’re okay” Jesus or the Victorian “meek and mild” Jesus? Jesus was a spiritual revolutionary. He was, as even a non-believer like HG Wells recognised, “a terrible moral huntsman come to dig us out of our burrows”. It’s my holiday now and in between slothful slices of laziness I picked up the bible and read in John about Jesus’s final prayer to God before he enters Gethsemane and it all begins. It hit me right between the eyes – especially his talking about the difference between those who accept him and his Father and those who choose the world. Concerning, “homosexual marriage”, Rebecca Hamilton is perfectly right. I have no time for Catholicism or its wordly leader, but she has my respect and support: it’s time to choose and lose. As I’ve said several times before, perhaps this is the best thing that has ever happened to us lackadaisical comfy cultural Christians. Anyway, the bottom line is, sorry friends, I’m choosing Jesus on this one.

  10. Ann, you have my sympathy about your family situation. I’m here in Switzerland where there is still a scintilla of sanity, but it will come here too. I’m already asking myself which of my friends and family will be the first to call me a bigot. My only comfort is to go back to the bible and read about the persecution Jesus and his followers had to undergo.

    Gerald, your observation mirrors my reality in my Swiss home town: I left the protestant church because they recently agreed to bless “homosexual couples” despite promising that this would never happen. I then became a Catholic and attended the local RCC church. Then, Bergoglio became pope and the church was immediately infused with his touchy, feeling, doctrinally light miasma. So now, I am a churchless christian. However, things are moving and we are making new contacts with other christians disillusioned with the mainstream churches and rediscovering the truth that “church” means the people, not the institution. Apart from getting used to being called “bigots” and “homophobes”, we will also have to get used to the fact that none of the main churches will hold fast.

  11. Dear John

    I agree the denominational church is finished, how can you publish on your website that you consider homosexuality a vile affection, Romans 1:26 and an abominable custom, Leviticus 18:30 and not be destroyed by the mob?

    We are moving to the home church model with, praise the LORD, like minded believers, who seek to worship the LORD in spirit and in truth.

    I have been praying that God will bring us together.

    Warmest regards in Him
    Naomi

  12. Hello Bill!

    I’m almost in tears as I write to thank you for reminding me that as a baptized follower of Jesus Christ, I will have to choose between going along with the crowd and being applauded, or following Jesus and being rejected and ridiculed in this gay and lesbian debate about so-called “gay marriage”. Friendships and reputations are at stake here.

    Like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, I’m just so frightened of what will happen to me, if I choose to stay with Jesus.

    Jesus, give me the grace to choose you and to trust in you, no matter what happens.

    John Ferwerda

  13. Bill, how can you speak of separating from family members? That is not being very loving is it? After all, you should make exceptions for family. You’re just causing hurt and pain. How would you feel if a family member died in these circumstances? Would you go to their funeral to honour them? That is not very Christian of you, is it? .. …. Blah, blah, blah!

    I don’t have time to read the Bible and try to challenge your position (because I know it will agree with you), so I am just going to appeal to feelings with emotional drivel. I am sure that if you go away and pray about it the “Holy Spirit” will tell you do something that is contradictory of scripture. More blah blah blah ……… and if that doesn’t work then I take other action to force the issue my way.

    Unfortunately this is a growing issue for anyone who takes God’s word seriously and with the growth of ministers who won’t teach truth it will continue to be so, not just on the issue of homosexuality, but other areas of Christian conduct. It is certainly not the Holy Spirit that is the spirit being followed in many churches.

  14. One thing I should add, for those in a similar situation, stand your ground. Yes you may miss out on a number of special family occasions over the years, but standing steadfast can bring about repentance in family members. However, even if it doesn’t, we still need to stand. I thank God for a church family that support those who take a stand for Jesus (Mat 12:48-50).

  15. Yes, we may well lose beloved family members and friends, but we will find a whole group of new friends to help us in our faith: devout and bible-believing Christians.

  16. The grief of losing a child, relative, or a friend to homosexuality can only be made bearable by loving the truth, more than you love ‘your own need’ for them. For any parent struggling with this, I would say know that God is inside of you bearing the heaviest part of this pain.

    Sadly, so many parents make friends with something they do not fully understand, and are not connected to a sense of goodness which will give them some peace in these circumstances. There is now enough information out there however which gives explanation about the causes, and the exploitation, of human sexuality.

    The comment by Mark Bachelor on standing steadfast particularly rings true, for if it is done in love, it stands as a contradiction to the world. The truth stands ‘hated’ by others, but for some, it will save them. If we are to live by the example of Christ, then we must be prepared to be hated in order to demonstrate what genuine love is.

  17. My husband of 18 years next Saturday, is addicted to pornography of a most disturbing kind which has morphed into cross dressing. I have given him the ‘benefit of the doubt’ over and over and it has only just dawned on me that ‘he loves his sin’ much more than he ‘loves’ me or our young son (who is now 16). This has been a very painful journey which we are still walking out. Needless to say my husband is not a believer. I having been saved after we were married. I know therefore that he has enmity towards God. Praise the LORD however that our son is saved and has a strong faith, largely due to Christian homeschooling, miraculously consented to by my husband, and that we know the LORD is with us. The Lord is the lifter of our heads. Putting sin out of your life can be quite a challenge in many areas, particularly sexual sin and particularly in the marriage context.

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