Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
Smug agnostics and unbelievers love to accuse Christianity of being divisive. But the division is created by Christianity's opponents and not us. It is, however, a division that Jesus warned would happen as a result of Him. People are divided over Who Jesus is and what He said and did. Those who know Him as God and Savior are on His side. Those who reject Him are opposed. And painful divisions are thus inevitable.
Jesus got to our most important earthly relationships to explain how deeply the truth will divide people. Even parents and children would find the strain of Christian commitment divisive. The love of Jesus runs deeper than family bonds. It was meant to strengthen them, but human will can choose to reject that. We should not be surprised if faith in Him causes division with non-believing family members. The issue to keep front and center is this: what do we do with the division?
I grew up in a sick fundamentalist legalism that willingly and sinfully cultivated division as a matter of pride. You "separated" from friends or family or acquantances who did not believe the gospel. You didn't smoke or chew or go with girls who do! It was pretty simple, almost binary in its view of the world, and it was infinitely WRONG! How can we believe Jesus saves sinners, is the friend of sinners, yet deliberately and with great smug pomposity remove ourselves from all contact with those who need Jesus most? No. Christians run TO sinners, not away from them. We are gospel light to them... even if they run from us!
If anyone does the separating, it is those who refuse Christ having seen Him in us. Let that be true. And even then, let us reach out to the ones who distance themselves. My heart breaks for those who leave the church in spiritual disillusionment. Even those who say the church makes Jesus unbelievable can still be saved if they repent and believe and trust Jesus and not the church. Let's bring the gospel, even if some divide from us, to those who need it, those with questions, those with accusations... let's love them like Jesus does. He died for His enemies. And Christians... that was us.