“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”
Jesus did not come to bring the kind of peace that glosses over deep differences just for the sake of superficial harmony. Conflicts will arise between those who choose to follow Christ and those who don’t. Yet we can look forward to the day when all conflict will be resolved and God’s peace will reign. (For more on Jesus as a peacemaker, see Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 5:9, and John 14:27.)
Christian commitment may separate friends and loved ones. In saying this, Jesus was not encouraging disobedience to parents or conflict at home. Rather, he was showing that his presence demands a decision. Because some will follow Christ and some won’t, conflict will inevitably arise.
As we take up our cross and follow him, our different values, morals, goals, and purposes will set us apart from others. Don’t neglect your family, but remember that your commitment to God is even more important than your commitment to them. Is God your first priority? How is your commitment to God made obvious to those around you?