In the following passage from the New Testament (Matthew 10:34-39),
34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not
come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 "For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter
against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and a man's enemies will be the members of his 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.
38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not
worthy of Me.
39 "He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost
his life for My sake shall find it.
~ New American Standard Bible
This sounds divisive (to put it mildly), doesn’t it? And I can well
imagine that it is used by the hard-of-heart, who adhere to a “hijacked”
version of Christianity, to ostracize family members, relatives,
friends, and neighbors.
I was thinking today of the pain caused by those hard-hearted
thousands who find a haven in “Christian” churches that preach a rigid,
self-serving version of “Christianity” that rejects any criticism of the
widespread and ever-growing horrendous cruelty toward other animals.
After all, they must justify their communal pig roasts and other
abominations over which they pray for God’s blessings!
Those who are blessed by God with sensitivity toward all of God’s
creation not only endure pain from their empathy with the suffering of
others, but also the pain of vilification and rejection by their
relatives and “church families.”
I was thinking of hard-hearted “Christian” parents who favor their
children who show hardness of heart and who scapegoat a child who is
blessed by God with sensitivity. They “break” such a sensitive child by
selective home schooling or by sending him (or her) to “Christian”
schools. Heaven forbid that their children should grow up to feel
kindness or compassion toward all of God’s creatures!
Unfortunately, I am personally acquainted with what I am writing
about. I remember well another such pastor-hunter who encouraged this
type of “Christianity.” It was difficult for me to sit there in a pew
and listen to a church member-hunter joyfully relating to the
congregation, during the “sharing of joys and concerns” part of the
service, how he had a bear hanging from his porch! Wow! What a blessing!
Is it any wonder that so many compassionate people leave these
churches? No doubt, when they start going to these churches, they think
they will find Jesus’ teachings of gentleness and compassion for all of
God’s creation. Unfortunately, (as I found out) nothing could be further
from the truth.