Understanding Family Hostility
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”
Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Does family hostility always prove God’s displeasure? From today’s readings, we learn that wonderful harmony at home may elude even those who faithfully follow Christ. We should not pursue unity among relatives at all costs.
Jacob got where he got by several deceptive moves (taking advantage of his brother and father). He met his match with Laban who married off his homely daughter to him and tricked him out of 14 years of labor for the wife he really wanted. This led to conflict between the competing wives. The family would experience lifelong misery. Still, Jacob generally did what God called him to do.
Jesus warned the disciples that those who followed him would be hated by all for His name’s sake and even experience conflict with their closest family members. The faithful disciple would not be able to count on support where he might expect it.
Think about it
What goes through your mind when you face rejection or conflict with those you love as a result of your faith in the Lord? Do you wonder if you are truly being a faithful disciple of Christ? Do you doubt your faith? Dr. Steven Lawson wrote about the life of Job: “When all hell breaks loose, you might be doing something right.”
As the twelve disciples took on an increasingly public role in proclaiming the gospel of their master, they could expect increasing hostility. So can you and I, but remember we have a promise “the one who endures to the end will be saved.”