“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.’
Matthew 10 : 34 – 36
It can be hard to think of Jesus as a controversial figure. We are so familiar with the image of ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ who just wants us all to get along and be nice to one another, that it can be a shock when we read about the real Jesus. The real Jesus was challenging and divisive. He didn’t give out soft platitudes, he made bold statements and often delivered hard truths, especially to those at the top of the social ladder. And these controversial statements led to conflict: with the crowds, with the pharisees, and ultimately with the Roman authorities.
Jesus doesn’t mince words here. He says if you are serious about following him then it’s going to involve conflict, even with the people closest to you. As someone who hates conflict this is a rather daunting message. Why rock the boat when we could just let it slide? But it’s impossible to have convictions and values unless you are willing to stand up for them. As Christians we don’t look for fights, but when we see something is wrong then we need to be willing to take a stand. If Jesus wouldn’t let it slide, then we shouldn’t either.
Prayer: Righteous God, help me to do what is right even when it isn’t popular or involves risks. Give me the boldness to say things that may make people uncomfortable, but which need to be said.
Action: Often we have a bigger voice than people who are on the receiving end of something unfair or unjust. How could you use your voice to help someone else.