I am not talking about a wife or husband that you should have entered into a covenant relationship with before God declaring to love “for better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do you part“, nor the children from such a (hopefully happy!) reunion but I’m talking about siblings and parents. People often go on about the virtues of family relations but what of those family members who are hateful, sarcastic, racist, spiteful, jealous and care nothing for you or your family? I believe that there is such a time to cut off such people if they continually misunderstand, misquote, misrepresent and misalign you or your family members (wife and/or kids) with no sign of repentance or forgiveness. This is especially true if non-Christian family members continue to mock your beliefs and show a complete disregard for the Word of God. The worst case, biblically, is when someone falsely calls themselves a Christian and yet lives a devilish lifestyle, continually mocking the Word of God in the way they live with no sign of relenting. “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Of course Jesus is not teaching his disciples to hate their families, but that “loyalty to God takes precedence over loyalty to family when the two come in conflict“. “The word “hate” in the Bible is often used to express priority and preference rather than emotional hatred.”
In talking with several other people who have lived outside of their native country for a number of years, I have found that family relations can often go sour. Many of the small-minded family members never once ask about how life is overseas or anything to do with your life. Instead, when you visit them on vacation they will sit around and talk about themselves and trivial things as if they couldn’t give a hoot about you. Imagine living overseas for 15 plus years and being able to count the number of times you have received calls from your “family” on one hand. Not to say that you haven’t talked plenty of times on the phone – it’s just always you that has been doing the calling…or writing…or flying thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars to visit ungrateful people who don’t really seem to enjoy your company anyway. If that is family, no thank you!
Those of us who are in “international marriages” have an added bonus. Sometimes racist remarks (sometimes hidden in “cute” jokes, other times in open insults) reveal their true feelings about race, thereby confirming that these are people not worth investing ones time, emotions, energy or money.
That is to say, one shouldn’t wish them any harm or continue to hold on to the hurt they’ve dished out to you. One can pray for such a people, but from a distance. A “Live and let live” attitude perhaps rather than “live and let die”. But one should not fool themselves into thinking that you have some twisted obligation to let people (No, not even “family”) treat you with any less respect they’d show to a complete stranger.
Life is far too short to waste your time on those who care nothing for you. If a branch is rotten, you must cut it off.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-37)