Timothy’s mother and grandmother must have been the happiest souls of their time. The apostle Paul honours them for raising a young man who became a mighty man of God. But not all young men are surrounded by pillars of faith in their home.
I met a brother years ago who might be surprised to know that I have always looked up to him as a man of courage. He told me of an intense spiritual struggle that took place in his youth. He recounted the pain of seeing his family, all having grown up in the Lord’s church, walk away from the truth. He said, “It almost cost me my sanity. I wondered how my family could justify their own sins while mercilessly accusing the church of doing things they knew it had not done.”
I need not tell you that he was alone in his fight to stay strong in the face of such persecution. It is not for nothing that Jesus warns us that “a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:36-37).
Family and friends see it as natural to expect you to honour them over a “group of believers that they don’t agree with.” But we must see things as Christ sees them. God’s call to “Love the Brotherhood,” is synonymous with “Love the Kingdom of Christ,” or “Love the Body of Christ—the church of Christ.”
When you and I are in need of courage to stand against those who are pulling us away from the church, we must do as the apostles did. When they were persecuted for “obeying God rather than man,” they turned to God in prayer:
“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
John Staiger (922)