Family matters

Can a righteous person be attracted to both heaven and hell at the same time?

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

So, as it is possible to serve (love) only one or the other, if we think we can successfully love the things of this world and the things of the celestial kingdom, we become the children of hell–loving the things hell offers, but including just enough outwardly observable religious activity to convince us we are on the right track when we are not even close.  As Jesus taught:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)

Do we really have to choose just one or the other?  Does true turning to God involve being repulsed by the things of this world?

What is it you long for, hope for, and wish for in your heart?  Is it to see the face of the Lord? Or is it to enjoy the attractive, tasty, enjoyable, things of this world (i.e. hell) while doing just enough Church-related work to earn a spot in the highest kingdom?

What about just wanting to hang out with your family and have fun with them?  There is a prevalent version of Mormonism in which abundant diversion with one’s family, mingled with the required ordinances, constitutes the pinnacle of earthly achievement. This doctrine asserts that when the things of this life are abundant and we have fun playing and vacationing with our families, enjoying the good things of the earth (tasty food, fun clothing, memorable vacations, Saturdays on the lake, get togethers centered around Cougar football, etc), we fulfill the measure of our creation. Family fun über alles.  This leads to justification for all types of extravagant spending (houseboats, cabins, jet skis, boats, motorcycles, etc) while the poor and needy are ignored.  In the name of family togetherness mothers and daughters spend valuable family time shopping for all manner of unnecessary baubles, their closets eventually filled to bursting with changeable suits of apparel, while the poor and needy go unnoticed.  Fathers and sons waste hours together watching, talking about, and practicing to hopefully participate in Babylon’s finest sporting events.  We study, mimic, and covet the fashions, trends, and sentiments of the world while convincing ourselves with just enough outwardly observable religious behavior that we are so much better than they. Families are good.  But when the foundation of our family’s happiness is veiled (or even overt) pursuit of Babylonian objectives, it becomes a massive deterrent to turning toward and drawing near to the Lord. Anything that keeps us from drawing close to Him is dangerous to our eternal welfare.

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Do we really have to give up devotion to anything that keeps us from approaching God?

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

When the Lord gave the parable of the great supper representing the Kingdom of God (see Luke 14:15-27) He offered three examples of the excuses some would offer for not responding to His invitation.  Two were overly concerned with possessions while one wanted to be with his wife.  It was then that he taught the quote referenced above:

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Jesus’ teaching recorded in Matthew teaches the same principle:

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

Is this a call to abandon family? No. It is a reminder that if we pursue a Babylonian lifestyle with our family, just because it is done as a family doesn’t make it less Babylonian.  We have a chance to lead our families in righteousness through much humility, fasting, and prayer.  It is easy to lead them in the faux-Christian approach that seeks to turn this life into a big sports game, fashion show and party. Only when we seek after the Lord at all costs does He promise we will find Him.

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (see Matthew 10:34-39)

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