Matthew 10:35

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For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law: (ASV)


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Contradicted by Deuteronomy 5:16

"Honor thy father and thy mother, as Jehovah thy God commanded thee; that thy days may be long, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee."

--JoeWallack 13:02, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)


The context for understanding Matthew 10:35 is—

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.

33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

35 “For 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’;

36 “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Within this passage, we are told that a person’s confession of Christ will lead to friction within a family so as to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother.

The allegation of a contradiction with Deuteronomy suggests that it is not possible for a person to honor his parents when he disagrees with them about Christ. No explanation is provided to support that premise.

The issue turns on the meaning of the term, “honor,” and whether, according to the definition of honor, the commandment to honor one’s parents prevents the person disagreeing with his parents on any issue that would cause friction with the parents.

The essential meaning of honor involves respect, favor, and obedience or submission. A child is commanded to honor his parents by respecting them and their authority and favoring them.

Christ provided one illustration of a person violating this commandment.

“[Jesus] said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ “But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”--’ (that is, a gift to God),“ then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down.” (Mark 7:9-13)

In this passage, Jesus illustrates how a child’s provision for his parents’ financial well-being as one sense of honoring his parents.

There is nothing that prevents a person from honoring his parents (providing for them financially) even if he were to disagree with them vehemently on the issue of Christ. Even where a son or daughter may disagree with their parents on the issue of Christ, they are still under obligation to honor their parents. This may be difficult but not unreasonable and not contradictory.


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