Most of you already know that great pressure is put upon us to never break off from anyone – especially if the “anyone” claims to be a Christian or family/relative. This means no matter how they are living, no matter what unrepentant sins they are pursuing, we are to excuse them and “love” them. And especially, we are told, this permanence of relationship applies to family and relatives. What does the Lord have to say about this?
Mat 4:21-22 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. (22) Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. [No indication here that their father was wicked, but you can bet they were criticized for leaving him]
Mat 8:21-22 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” (22) And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Mat 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. [Matthew would have been called crazy for doing this]
Mat 10:34-39 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For 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. (36) And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (37) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (38) And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (39) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 19:26-29 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (27) Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” (28) Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (29) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
2Co 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
2Th 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
2Th 3:14-15 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. (15) Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Heb 11:8-10 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (9) By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. (10) For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Heb 11:24-27 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, (25) choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (26) He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (27) By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
And on and on we could go. Following Christ requires leaving. Leaving people. Leaving father, mother, sister, brother who insist on staying in the City of Destruction (the world). “I’m going this way, are you coming?” No looking back at where we have plowed, no longing for Sodom as Lot’s wife did. Jesus will have all of us, or none of us. We are in or we are not.
And so I ask again. Why are our churches and pastors and typical professing Christians teaching us that to leave is unloving, un-Christlike, unkind? Why did my own parents primarily associate (though they claimed to be Christians) with ungodly, blaspheming family (and there were a lot of them that I was primarily raised around)? Why did they refuse to walk away and why were they not challenged by their pastors? I can tell you – they were not born again.