"A man's enemies will be the members of his own household" Matt 10:36

Recently we have been pondering how to deal with situations in our family that don't line up with the word.
What action do we need to take?  Are we being too harsh?  Do we accept the behaviour or be considered by those around us as "too radical" or "too black and white"?  "Where is grace in all of this?
How do we love the sinner but hate the sin?  What about forgiveness?  What is the role of discipline?   What makes that sin any worse than lying?  What is true love?  And there are a lot more questions going through the mind in how to work through this and know God's will and desire for the situation and the person.

And firstly to say we have not come to any conclusions and are growing and learning day by day in this but I want to throw it out there.
In Matt 10:34-39 says "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 again her mother-in-law, a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."  Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

I have often been challenged by this scripture and in fact challenged others with this as they have faced various situations and questions in their own life.  When our daughter Kate was 10, the Lord called us to what others considered a pretty extreme action but one in which we knew the Lord had asked us to do and that was for her to go to a boarding school in Thailand.  We were living in China at the time.  She was an only child (not by choice) so as you can imagine this took a huge toll on us all.  But the Lord had given a vision and he had said that in order for that vision to be fulfilled, we had to sacrifice our only child.  Now many may judge that - (and did), but we know what the Lord spoke and we stepped out in faith on that, trusting that God knows the plans, both for us and for her.  God spoke to me at the time about the story of Joseph and although Kate would go through many trials, she would come through it and into a place of prominence.  And I still very much believe this, yet through that journey she did have some huge struggles & continues to, but I know it is shaping her to be the woman God has called her to be.

I have learnt that often in our own homes as the scripture says above that "A man's enemies will be the members of his own household" why - because we love them the most and for us to make stands that might mean we lose our children, our parents or whatever relationship we have with them, is a huge deal and we don't want to take that stand out of fear or whatever reason.  We are called as Christians to live a life that lives up with the word, to be standard bearers in a world where the standards are not even seen.  We are called to be a people that stand up for truth, justice, righteousness etc.  But often we are given over to compromise for the sake of relationship.

We live in a world where living with one's partner is the accepted norm.  Where internet porn is common place.  Where homosexuality and lesbian relationships are legally married.  Where everything we watch on television has some sexual content to it.  Where putting down people, gossip and judgement are everyday soap opera shows.  Where sarcasm is considered how we love people yet it is a form of cutting people down.  Where respect to elders is non-existent.  Where anger or raising your voice is a way of getting what we want done.  Where foul language is part of a sentence.

We are called to completely the opposite of the ways of the world.  We are called to transform societies to the ways of the Kingdom.  Yet people in our families and ourselves included, at times go down paths that the world promotes as acceptable and the norm.  We often don't know where to draw the line.  What makes disrespect, rebellion & swearing any different than homosexuality and so on.

None of us have all the answers.  All of us are learning and growing in grace and forgiveness.   One thing I am learning is that without grace,  I fall into judgement and condemnation of others.   In Romans it says "Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more".  I am learning that I am not perfect, that I don't have all the answers.  God continues to constantly remind me of my own sins, of my own weaknesses, why - so that I can give grace to others and also so I can grow in righteousness.  Because without his forgiveness of my mistakes I am no better than anyone else.  Even with his forgiveness of my sins I am still no better than anyone else.  We are all equal in his eyes.  The Lord's prayer talks about "Forgive me as I forgive others their sins" - this is a daily prayer.

I do want to encourage you to ponder the standards the Lord has set and how we bring these standards into our homes & lives in a way that brings grace and honour to the people the Lord has entrusted us with or put around us.  To love in such a way that that love leads to repentance.  As you become a standard bearer where people stop themselves mid sentence swearing/gossiping etc as they know what you stand for.    That his perfect love casts out all fear in such a way it brings change because people feel safe to be who they are, right where they are at and yet want to change.  How to discipline without bringing fear & judgement because what father who loves his children does not discipline?

As I say, I have not yet fully mastered this so if you are praying please pray for us as well in this.  We want to be people who are known as people who follow the Lord both in word and in action.
With love,

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