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Leave and Cleave

by Rebekah Prewitt, MA in Christian Counseling

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake (Luke 21:16, 17).

Recently I read a story of a married pastor's daughter who was experiencing a number of injustices done to her by her parents. Over and over her parents disrespected her and her husband. The daughter eventually got so fed up with her parents behaviors that she decided that she was going to cut off her parents to cleave to her husband. This pastor's daughter came to the right decision, but I fear that she was not counseled properly and may still be struggling to know what to do with her parents. You see, this pastor's daughter was counseled by Christians not to do such a drastic thing. Hearing this boiled me up. Why would anyone counsel a woman going through such a situation to refrain from doing what she has been commanded to do? The person giving her this kind of advice demonstrated that they clearly did not know the cost involved in truly following Christ.

When it comes to the issue of leave and cleave, pain must be involved. My uncle, Maniram, once told me that Jesus was not nailed to the cross with rubber nails. He was saying that you must feel the pain if you are going to make a sacrifice for Jesus. When the Scriptures say that a man shall leave his father and mother, the principle rings true for wives also. We are not exempt. Our very role as a wife is representative of His Church, and if we can't leave father and mother here on this earth, how do we expect the Church to leave the world to follow Christ? Leaving our family to follow our husband is like leaving the world to follow Christ, and this means learning to love Him and him more than mother, father, brother, etc. This is a pure act of obedience regardless of how we feel on the matter.

Remember, every time you attempt to make a sacrifice for doing what Jesus told you to do, you will experience religious persecution. Religious persecution is not just what you hear about taking place in some Middle Eastern country. It isn't only when someone gets shot or put into prison for preaching the gospel. No, it is also in the form of a coworker snubbing you for reading your Bible at lunch or someone picking on you because you go to church three times a week. Believe it or not, persecution even comes in the form of your own family mistreating you for obeying the command to leave and cleave. So, don't be like those on stony ground, who, when affliction and persecution come because of the Word, immediately become offended (Mark 4:16-17).

Jesus says, "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). He also says, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12). Be encouraged my fellow wives and wives-to-be. Leave behind what He says to leave behind, and take on what He says to take on. Don't be afraid to give Him all that you have. Give it to Him, and see what He will do with it.

Consider these sayings of Jesus,

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. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish (Luke 14:26-30).

When you decided to build a marriage with your husband, did you consider the cost involved? Jesus said,

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Luke 12:51-53).

Remember, the same Jesus who teaches us to honor father and mother also tells us, "There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:29-30). It is okay to leave your parents.

Read more in, You Can Be a Happy Wife: A Look at the Wife's Role by Rebekah Prewitt.
Get your copy today, and learn how your emotions can lead you astray during this leave and cleave crisis.

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