There is one relationship Jesus seems to discourage. No, not just that - he asks his followers to reject this relationship.
Luke 14:25-27 is a sample. Hang on - this is rough.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Why is Jesus so down on family? What about having our "focus on the family," or putting "family first," or believing that "family matters?" To listen to Christian radio, you would think that family is the most important thing in the whole world to a good Christian.
All good Christians except Jesus, I guess.
But before you get that divorce, or ship your kids off to an orphanage, or cancel your plans for the big annual family reunion this summer, let's try to get a little grip on what Jesus was really saying.
We can't treat this with any kind of exhaustive explanation here - it would take a book. But let's just say this: in the culture of Jesus, and with an understanding of the terms he uses, it makes a lot more sense. In Jesus' day, family was more like property, and family did not represent duty and responsibility as much as prosperity and influence and security. A person with lots of kids and lots of siblings could relax and feel unconcerned about the future. Such a person had safety and security in the face of potential problems and economic strains. Lots of family meant things would be OK.
Jesus' use of the word "hate," is perhaps a tad strong. It's a relative term (no pun intended), so that "hate" could refer to loving someone less relative to someone you love more.
So, what is Jesus saying? He is asking us to lose our dependence, lose our security, lose our back-up plans with family. Because when we depend on family, we can stop depending on Jesus.
This is what Jesus means when he says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." In other words, when we put Jesus in the right place - our only true love - all the other loves of our lives will fall into place the way God intended.
Want the best family possible? Give your total, surrendered, trusting self to God.