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The “Christian family” is a lie. Unlike criminal organizations such as the mafia, televangelists, and the Rothschild banking monopoly, Jesus didn’t choose relatives as his fellow labourers. He chose strangers whose sole qualifications were that they willingly chose to do God’s will, and were willing to follow him as the Messiah.
As born-agains, our real family is no longer the people we grew up with; our real family is those who do God’s will. That doesn’t mean that we should shun our relatives if they’re not born again; it just means we shouldn’t spend any more or any less time with them than we would with anyone else who doesn’t do God’s will. As born-agains, we are no longer bound by blood or culture. These are not the ties that bind us. We are bound to God spiritually as his adoptive children and to Jesus as sibling, follower, and friend. These are the primary relationships that define us, not our blood or culture.
Jesus was not a fan of family gatherings. In fact, other than for a few quick stopovers in Nazareth, he generally avoided his relatives after he started his ministry work. We need to stare that fact straight in the face. Jesus didn’t get along with his family after he “came out” as the Messiah. His mother thought he was crazy, and his brother James thought he was just playing at being a prophet. Jesus said our worst enemies will be those under our own roof, and his disbelieving family proved him right. Only after his crucifixion did his mother and brother come round and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah.
The truth about Jesus’ rocky relationship with his relatives is rarely spoken about in polite Christian circles. Ministers like to wax poetic over the ‘holy family’ and urge their parishioners to mold their families after the supposed Christian model of a strong father, a supportive mother, and polite obedient children. But this model is not based on the New Testament. Jesus said that he came to drive a sword between blood relatives and their in-laws, and to turn family members against each other. He didn’t come to draw people closer to each other; he came to draw people closer to God. He also said that if you want to please your relatives more than you want to do God’s will, then you’re not worthy of being his follower and ultimately not worthy of Heaven.
At the same time, Jesus warned us not to marry. Paul reiterated the warning, saying that spouses are usually more interested in pleasing each other than in pleasing God. They also tend to lean on each other rather than to lean on God. That’s why Jesus urged his followers not to marry, and if they were married, to leave their spouse to follow him. All his married disciples left their wives. They didn’t divorce them; they simply lived separately from them and no longer had intimate relations with them.
This is another major fact that is rarely mentioned in polite Christian circles, especially by joined-at-the-hip televangelist husband and wife duos. Jesus and his followers lived celibate, making “eunuchs” of themselves for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake.
We are expected to do the same.
That’s right, folks – no nooky. We’re to live celibate not like Catholic priests but celibate like Jesus.
Genuine celibacy comes not from our own efforts, but from God. It’s a spiritual gift that God readily gives anyone who asks for it.
The notion of a strong patriarch and a supportive matriarch surrounded by a gaggle of offspring is Old Testament. As born-agains, we follow the example that Jesus set in the New Testament by living celibate and seeing our real family as those who choose to do God’s will.