Odds are if you are reading this that you have experienced some level of hurt and pain in your lifetime. None of us are immune from experiencing it. We live in a topsy turvy world, where up is down and down is up. Jesus even warns us prior to his return that family will even turn on family. What?

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53

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Those words bother me. It leaves me unsettled and wondering why. What did he mean by that and how in the world can I keep it from happening to my own family? As I often do when I don’t understand the text itself I refer to the footnotes for clarification. This is what it says, “In these strange and unsettling words, Jesus revealed that his coming often results in conflict. He demands a response, so intimate groups may be torn apart when some choose to follow him and others refuse to do so. There is no middle ground with Jesus. Loyalties must be declared and commitments made, sometimes to the point of severing other relationships.”

That is a tough pill to swallow for this girl that considers family everything. How about you? So the next question I ask is does Jesus like this conflict and want this conflict to happen. Knowing his character and who he is and what he stands for the astounding answer is NO! Division is not from God but from the enemy himself. Satan has a mission and it is to keep us from following our Lord and Savior. He will stop at nothing to destroy. We must keep our armor on and be ready for the battlefield at all times and declare that we will fight against him and WIN.

imageSo how do we fight? This is so important for us to understand because often how we fight can be the very reason for the division. We often feel that we have to point out the wrong and then the finger points back with rejection and a hardening of hearts happens along with unforgiveness on both sides. The hurt is real. Who is winning in the pointing of fingers? No one except for Satan and a bigger divide occurs. What a master he is at slithering his evil ways in but our God IS BIGGER…He offers MERCY when it is NOT deserved. He offers it to every single one of us, the believer and non-believer alike.  I know many of us can recall seasons of our life where God showed up and showed us mercy when we deserved the opposite. The apostle Paul recalls his own season of scoffing at Jesus’s teachings and hunting and murdering God’s people before coming to faith in Christ. “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 1:13-14

God LOVES unconditionally, forgives us many trips and falls in our life and helps us get back up on our feet over and over again. That’s an AMAZING God! In a world where up is down and down is up that leaves us disappointed, our God never does. THIS IS HOW WE FIGHT…we offer His mercy to others when they don’t deserve it. We forgive them when it’s hard even when the words have cut deeply and we walk along-side them and help them get back up. It’s messy and hard. It doesn’t come naturally. We have to seek God for it and He is generous to give. When we fight this way, others get a glimpse of who God really is. He LOVES us to death…literally and figuratively! He’s already shown us that, now it’s our time to show it to others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7

photo (61)I don’t know about you, but I need mercy! I fall short daily, and I need his rich grace and mercy to be given to me when I don’t deserve it. When I receive it from someone in the flesh, I SEE HIM in that person and it overwhelms me. I hope to be able to give mercy and show his light to the world. Let’s fight the good fight against evil and keep our families in tact! Never forget who it is you are fighting in the battle…it’s not against the flesh, each other, it’s against the enemy of darkness. I refuse to let him take and steal from my family. Are you in for the fight!  Lord, have mercy!  AMEN!!!