What Does The Bible Say About Family Turning Against You

The Bible speaks much about family, both in terms of those related by blood and even those related by circumstance. It is clear from Biblical teachings that family should be looked after, respected and honored. However, it does not paint the perfect picture of all families being harmonious and loving; for some, the idea of turning against family members may be all too familiar. What does the Bible have to say about this situation?

The Bible makes it plain that turning against family is not a desirable choice for any Christian to take. In Matthew 10:35-37 Jesus speaks of a person being forced to choose between ‘father and mother, son and daughter’, warning believers not to “love one another more than [they] love God”. This is interesting, as it suggests that the love of family may be put above that of God in some cases. Similarly, in Luke 14:26, Jesus tells listeners to place the love of Him above the love of their family and that they must “hate” their family if they are to truly follow Him. This same passage also refers to leaving one’s parents and other family members in order to follow Christ.

That said, this does not mean that Jesus was encouraging believers to turn against their families. Instead, He was warning of the consequences if people put their love for Christ above that of the family. His words are not figurative either; Luke 14:26 mentions not just loving Christ more, but “hating” one’s family. Instead, Jesus simply wanted to make clear that if loving Him came into conflict with loving family, He should be chosen first. In addition, he warned that following Him may lead to conflict and even the estrangement of family members. Therefore, if family members have turned against each other, this may not be the Christian’s fault, although it may cause difficulty.

Elsewher in Scripture, Ephesians 6:1-3 calls us to honor our parents, no matter the situation. Furthermore, it is clear that in striving to live in God’s ways, some churches would be willing to provide support and help to those family members who are in need. The common theme which emerges here is that God wants us to prioritize Him, but also to show love and care to other family members. Ultimately, while it may be difficult, the Christian life requires us to place Christ first.

What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?

Turning against family members can cause much hurt; when Jesus speaks of hating family to love Him, He does not mean it metaphorically. We can never deny that this does not fit neatly with the idea of loving others and forgiving those who do us wrong – something which Jesus is incredibly clear about. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus encourages believers to forgive, even when wrongs have been committed. We can then see that while it is possible to disagree with and even conflict with family members, forgiveness is an essential element of Christian life.

The Bible takes a firm stance on forgiveness, painting it as an integral part of being a Christian. While turning against family members may become unavoidable in certain circumstances, it is never acceptable for this to be done without affection and understanding. Jesus explained that it is the responsibility of Christians not just to forgive, but to show them love, understanding and compassion – even when such feelings are not returned. Furthermore, when family members have turned against a Christian, it still remains the responsibility of the believer to demonstrate love and to forgive.

Interestingly, there is a degree of flexibility with regards to how this should be done. In Ephesians 4:32, it is clear that forgiveness should be ‘from the heart’, but other passages – such as Proverbs 17:9 – suggest that this should take practical form. In this respect, it is encouraged that believers pursue reconciliation and understanding with those who have wronged them. In doing this, they demonstrate Christ’s love and forgiveness, and can begin to rebuild Trust where it has been broken.

What Does the Bible Say About Redemption?

It is clear that the Bible speaks of love, understanding and forgiveness being given. However, it does not stop there; the Bible also speaks of redemption. For example, in Romans 5:8-9, it speaks of how Christ is willing to forgive and to “save” people from their wrongdoings. In this respect, it is possible for believers to give the same grace – even in the face of family members having turned against them.

It is interesting to note that this does not mean the situation is ever forgotten – God does not forget, and neither should believers – but that believers are still called to love, even where love has been withdrawn. In this respect, Romans 12:17-21 is particularly relevant as it states that despite how one may be treated, believers are still to show love and kindheartedness to their enemies. In this way, it is possible to restore relationships, even though the hurt and difficulty may be significant.

God’s ways are always ones of redemption and reconciliation; even the furthest removed from the Christian faith can be restored through the grace of Jesus Christ. In the same way, when family members have turned against each other, love and understanding can still afford redemption. In this respect, Romans 5:10 speaks of being ‘justified through [Christ’s] blood’, which can lead to ‘peace with God’ even in the most difficult of circumstances.

What Does the Bible Say About Restoration?

Turning against family can cause deep hurt and difficulty, yet these issues do not have to be permanent fixtures. The Bible speaks of restoration, where even those who have been furthest from God’s love can be restored. 2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of how in Jesus Christ, ‘old things have passed away’, indicating that restoration and reconciliation are possible even in the most extreme situations.

Interestingly, there is an expectation here which cannot be ignored. Restoring relationships are not merely a matter of forgiveness; it is a matter of actively showing grace and love to those who have wronged us. Romans 12:2 states that ‘[believers] be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of [their] mind, that [they] may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’. This is all part of restoring relationships and allowing them to be full of love and compassion.

Restoration can also come through a believer’s recognition of their own wrongdoings. In this respect, it is important for the Christian to recognize their part in any conflicts which may have arisen, accepting that God does not show favoritism – much like He will forgive the wrongs of other people, so too can He forgive their own.

What Does the Bible Say About Wisdom & Obedience?

It cannot be denied that turning against one’s family is a difficult and often painful decision. That said, though, it is clear that the Bible calls us to obey it even when we struggle with it. In James 1:5-6, it speaks of God being willing to give wisdom to those who ask for it; in this respect, wisdom may be found in seeking reconciliation and understanding with family, but it may also be found in understanding when situations have gone beyond the point of healing. In any case, this is something which wisdom from God may give.

Similarly, the Bible speaks of the notion of obedience above all else – yet in the case of family, this is not simply a matter of obedience. Obedience is done in love and in faith – something which is often difficult to do. Even so, Bible passages 1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 5:15 and 2 Timothy 2:24 continue this tradition of emphasizing the need for obedience, understanding and love, even when it is to be demonstrated to those who have wronged us.

In conclusion, it is clear that the Bible speaks largely against turning against family; such a decision should be based in love and understanding, yet not at the expense of our faith and relationship with God. In such difficult and complex circumstances, wisdom is necessary to ensure that the Christian remains in a state of holiness and obedience to God, while also being able to show love to those who have wronged them.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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