Monday, October 10, 2005
Just an answer to a friend.
47Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.48But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?49And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.Matthew 12 (KJV)
The statement was made that this was not very nice of Jesus. I used to think that is was very rude and cruel myself and didn't like what Jesus said until I looked at it more closely. I did wonder what made me think it was rude to start with and what within me took it that way without any further thought to it being any different.
I told Adam that I used to read it the way he read it and he asked me what changed my mind. So Adam, here is summary of why I changed my mind about this and alot of things I read in the bible.
I used to get so angry at God about election and thinking that I wasn't elected and why would He do this to me when I wanted to love Him but always failed. I thought who would want to serve a God who would be so demanding and cruel and rude to those who loved Him and wanted to follow Him. I had to rethink what I was believing. I did not want to go to hell, I wanted to believe God, but this idea of Him was driving me further away in my mind and something had to be wrong. Something had to be wrong because when I first believed I was liberated and had a desire to serve God who loved me and had mercy on me and I saw His unconditional love for me by going to the cross to pay for my debt of sin against Him. I saw that He wasn't mad at me. In fact the bible said that while I was "yet" a sinner He died for me.
But why did this change after a few years and why couldn't I believe what I believed at first? Well I know now that
God was driving me to take look at how I perceived Him and others. I used to get offended easily at people and the things in Gods word and still do at times. God in His mercy has shown me that alot of times I am not realizing or understanding what He or another person is telling me because I am processing things that I hear through the filters in my mind that are based on false beliefs (lies). He is showing me that our belief system has been put in place by those around me when I was a child. You know the lies like "Gods gonna get you for that" and "God only likes "good" people" and "God helps those who help themselves". We learn to relate to others and God by what we are taught when we are children by our family and others, wether verbally taught by intention or learned by what we see and hear unintentionally. This doesn't go away at salvation. In fact some are saved while young and still develop these wrong beliefs.
I will give you some personal testimony here. My dad left my mom and three kids, of which I am the oldest, for another woman and her family when I was 8 years old. For what ever reason I could not accept the fact that my dad would be so selfish and blamed myself and brother and sister for this. I reasoned that if we would have been good enough then dad would not have left. Which by the grace of God I know now is a lie that I believed. But I took this experience into my relationship with God when He called me to salvation. Therefore when I would "mess up" then I feared that God my heavenly Father would abandon me just like my dad did, I thought God was demanding I be perfect or else He would not like me and withhold His love. Thats the way my stepfather would treat us. So believing this caused fear and then anger toward God. I have some interesting thoughts here about predestination and calling but that is for another time.
I know this is long and I hope I am writing this where it is understandable. What I am trying to say is that I and we relate to others and read things in the bible and understand them through the filter of our fallen belief system until God renews our mind which changes our belief about what we think of Him and certain situations and this is an ongoing process which could be called santicfication. So the verse about Jesus asking those around Him "who are my mother and brothers" sounds not very nice, until I stop and think, do I know what tone of voice the Lord was speaking in when He ask this question. Does He come out and say that Mary and His brothers are "not" His mother and brothers and those around Him are, of course not. Would Jesus reject His mother and brothers like that. No I don't think He would, He was still concerned about His mother after going through all the beatings and mockings and while hanging and suffering on the cross He showed that He was a God of love and made sure to tell John to take care of her. I do believe that Jesus was saying that whoever does the will of God are His mothers and brothers which is implying that those who don't are not.
The Bible is full of stories about men and their families and we can see how certain things follow down through generations. Look at Abraham for instance. He was deceptive to those he was dealing with by telling them that Sarah was his sister and not telling them she was his wife also. Then Issac used deception to gain a large herd of goats from his father in-law. Then Jacob and his mother deceived Issac out of giving his blessing to Essau and giving it to Jacob. Our flesh and our thinking comes from our families and we are responsible to change it or rather God is responsible for changing it. We are responsible for confessing our own sins and taking ownership of them and working out our salvation.
So my point is, that when something is causing me pain or I fear rejection by certain words in the bible, I need to stop and look again with Gods help and see if its just my rebellious heart and I don't want to submit to it or could it be that I am not reading through my spiritual eyes given to me when I was born again and thereby causing rebellion against what I am reading because I don't fully understand it? The Holy Spirit through Paul says in Romans to believers that the mind set on the flesh(which I believe is where our false belief system is) is hostile to God and cannot submit itself to the things of God, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. So if I am not having life and peace about what God is saying to me in His word and can't submit myself to it, then I have to realize that I have set my mind on the flesh and that is why I am hostile to things that God is trying to tell me. I need to repent or change my mind and set it on the Spirit which Jesus called the Comforter in Johns gospel in order to understand it. Therefore if I think God is being rude it may just be the way I am understanding it. Because if God is love and 1 corinthians 13 gives the definition of love then how can Jesus do anything that is contrary to that definition?
That is the way I came to what I believe about that passage of scripture, sorry for long explaination but some us aren't as gifted as others in writing skills. :)
You also asked if your interpretation could be right also. I guess it can for you. But as you can see it can't for me at this time in my life as I understand it.