Posted by: Botolff | May 15, 2009

Jesus came to divide families?

We seem to be hanging on the theme of family a lot in our blog and in the pod-casts.  Has anyone read Luke 12:39-53 lately?

Isn’t Jesus supposed to be pro-family?  But he said he came to bring division in the family.  So, what’s up?

I wonder if Jesus just knew that his presence would naturally bring division, because what he stood for would call people to consider what it meant to be a family member, and expose the truth about how far we can stray from the family roles we were originally meant to play. 

It’s awfully difficult to oppose family members.  I have a lot of abuse in my own family, and I’ve worked with abusive families in various arenas.  I can tell you that in order for someone to break away from an abusive family system, it requires a mental emotional sword backed by a lot of courage to cut oneself free.  When that happens, the price is often paid in rejection, abandonment, threats, defamation of character, guilt trips, emotional manipulation and chaos, blame, etc.  What’s even harder to address is that abusive families have worked hard to create and maintain a facade so that they can maintain the abusive system, and function in society in order to get what they want.  That’s why it can be so surprising to people when it finally comes out that dad is an “abusive jerk,” or that mom is “co-dependant” as Corey named in the last pod-cast.   

Abusive churches aren’t any different.  Actually, the reason why they exist is because they primarily attract people who have a bent towards being perpetrators, and those who lean towards being victims.  Again, we are all perpetrators and victims on one level or another, but the greater the level of abuse we have experienced in our biological families that we have not worked through, the more that will translate to our churches. 

I have so much respect for students, and ministers, who have risked speaking up to the “family members” that have abused them.  I have met some gutsy people.  I have just as much respect for family members, and churches, who can admit that they are the abusers when they are faced with the truth. 

I don’t think Jesus came to divide families.  I believe he came to expose the division that is already there so there can be repentance, forgiveness and restoration.  Any family who can learn to fight well, where each family member looks for and owns their own dysfunction, and can handle having others point it out when they see it, is a group of people that stands a chance of being the kind of family Jesus found himself in when he pointed at his disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.”



  1. I so needed to read this this week. Thank you so much for posting. God’s Spirit is good like that.

  2. ps. I have added your blog to my blogroll. Please keep up the great posts on an area of ministry that is so often overlooked.

  3. Thanks for the reply and for putting us up on your blogroll. Good to know you’re still following. I check in on yours occasionally too. I’m glad to hear the post was helpful. Blessings- Botolff

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