In Matthew 10:36, Jesus states that “Thy enemies will be that of your own household.” Wow! the first time I heard that, I really couldn’t comprehend in my young mind the ramifications of that passage.
Automatically, I assumed that family would always be there. I mean, I remember my mom caring for my grandparents. I remember my dad doing whatever he could for his dad, despite his often grumpy demeanor. After all, they valued and respected all of the Ten Commandments, and honoring thy Father and Mother were right up there with Loving the Lord above all.
I remember much discourse in my mom’s family–my dad was an only child and because he craved family so desperately, didn’t understand the strife that accompanied extended family with children, aunts, uncles and cousins, in the fray…so he tried to be a peacemaker. No matter the pain and agony that my mom felt due to familial problems, she courageously stepped forward to suffer rageful and jealous behavior from her brothers, disapproval from her parents, and still she continued on…smile plastered upon her face. Incredibly, I watched as she forgave. Time and time again, she forgave and extended the olive branch and I am still in awe of her courage.
Growing up, our family life was not harmonious by any stretch of the imagination. There was substance abuse, as well as physical, emotional and worse. As the eldest, I was at the top of the list for the arrows and barbs–because I needed to set the example for the others. If they failed–I failed and I received the punishment to go along with it. There were many other issues, not worth mentioning in a blog, but suffice to say, despite it all, I knew it was important to follow God’s commandments by honoring my parents.
I tried to do my best. Often I failed and at times felt resentment towards them, but I remained faithful and helped where I could. Before my Dad died, he asked my forgiveness and the same with my mother. They need not have asked as I forgave them long before, but their actions were beneficial to them, I think. They were able to go in peace to meet our loving Lord because of their reconciliation efforts.
Deep down, I assumed that my parents repeated lessons to us about blood being thicker than water would hold true and faithful forever, even after they died. Unfortunately, that was one lesson I was unprepared.
How on earth would I know that once they died, that some of my siblings, uncle and aunt and even two of my children, would turn their backs on me–leaving me to wonder why.
Years later, I am still confused as to the reasons for the estrangements. I will always hold out hope for reconciliation with all of them, including grandchildren that I have yet to see. I would love nothing more than to have them all back with us–but at the same time, I am blessed for I learned that God indeed can place friends in your life that are as dear to you as family. My dear friends are there in good times and bad, in sickness and health and will be there whenever I need them and that is such a comfort.
So, back to Matthew–yes, I do believe that our enemies are that of our own household for if we follow the path to oneness with our Lord Jesus Christ, we will make a lot of enemies–because often our families cannot understand that path, nor do they choose to take it. Our friends are those who are generally on the same unpopular path and consequently understand the pain, suffering and challenges that accompanies the way to heaven.
The pain has been intense, but yet in other ways it feels good to know that I am exactly where God wants me to be.