For many years when I would ask God to show me His will, he would repeat the same thing to my mind- a scripture reference: Mark Chapter 10. When I first turned to this scripture, at His prompting, verses 29- 31 were made Rhema to me.
"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."
Indeed, I did leave my brethren, my relatives, the religion and culture of my father and siblings, and thus, their desires for my future. I left their influence. Even so, many, many years of persecutions were endured before I was able to fully, in my heart and emotions, separate myself from them in order to fully attend to the path onto which God had placed my feet. This blog, initiated in 2006, shows some of that Journey. Still today, I get the ire of my siblings when I make commentary and comparison of the orthodox Christian Church, established by Christ and His Apostles, to the doctrines and practices of the Baptist faith, established by the Anglican, "self-bapizer", turned Mennonite, John Smithe. Responses from my siblings usually denigrate into ad- hominems.
Saint Symeon The New Theologian saw this struggle, in his own experience, and with the monks under his care. Those who would follow Christ, who would hear the call of God in their lives. who were still emotionally bound by the sincere love of their family and their sincere desire to be at peace with them, were continually distracted, pulled to and fro by their relative's selfish desires and wishes for their future. They have not heard the call of God in your heart, how could they? So, they cast dispersion on it. We struggle not to take such casting to heart and to remember the promise of God to all of us... But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time... Indeed, missing of the approval of my family. and the limited times I get to see them, is no sacrifice compared to the promise of God shown true in my life. His path is the most joyous and His family is the most devoted. My earthly family has been replaced, and that right well.
Here are the words of Saint Symeon, who does not take lightly the meddling of relatives who interrupt the sanctifying process of God in his life and try to include him in their fate- by drawing him back into their family unit.
"Wretch as I am, I have been the first to realize this. As I lie in a pit of mud, I realize my own faults. I cry out from below and call to all who pass by outside,
'Get yourselves away, brethren, from this most horrible pit, and go by the straight way, which is in Christ!'
Let no one turn aside to the right or to the left and fall in here where I am in my wretchedness and misfortune, and so be deprived not only of earthly benefits, but of heavenly ones as well! The most wicked one, the enemy of our souls, the devil by means of his manifold machinations time and time again casts most men, or nearly all, together as in heaps into such a pit. He often uses this one means,
ATTACHMENT TO ONE'S KINSFOLK,
like a lasso to drag them off. The enemy brings it around the neck of every one who has accepted this attachment and pulls and drags them off together to such frightful precipices and dangerous pits of sin from which there is no escape, and ever plunges them into the abyss of despair. Once he has brought them down into the depth of hell and bound them (Prov. 14:12), he leaves them there.
I implore you, brethren, let us flee from this destruction."
Related Articles: It's All Relative