Familiarity Breeds Contempt

The idea behind this expression has been around for thousands of years and quoted by too many people to mention. It also has a few meanings behind it. But generally it means “the better we know someone, the more likely we are to find fault with them.

Most often you find this attitude within your community, close friends and even sometimes family. The Free Dictionary has this definition ” If you know someone very well or experience something a lot, you stop respecting them.” OUCH!

I know someone this happened to, when Jesus returned to His hometown.

He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? 55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 13:53-58 [Emphasis Mine]

Luke says they were so full of rage and wanted to throw Him off a cliff.

And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, He went His way.

Luke 4:28-30

What could Jesus have said that would bring rage into the hearts of these people He grew up with. They disrespected Him that much that they wanted to throw Him off a cliff.

At first they were impressed with Him, the way He talked and the wisdom and clarity of His words. They were in awe of His miracles. They knew Him, they were familiar with Him. They were His relatives and friends.

What happen? What could He have said to them in His very first sermon? What was He teaching that could turn them away so quickly, that they wanted to kill Him?

The Truth!

The first moment He spoke critical and preached hard or taught hard truths, they turned on Him. Like a lot of people do even now, they wanted the feel good message, the soft message, the felt needs message. They wanted their ears scratched. 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

Jesus gave them the greatest form of love, the truth. “Truth and Love” they are inseparable. Ephesians 4:15 Speaking the truth in love, is not holding back parts of the truth.

Paul said to the elders, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” Acts 20:27 Speaking the truth in love is not watering down the truth, it is to give the pure unadulterated, inerrant word of God, the pure milk of the word 1 Peter 2:1-2.

Jesus did not give them what they wanted, He gave them what they needed. The greatest need is the truth! And that truth can only be found in the word of God.

The greatest thing a person can do for a friend, is to look them in the eye’s and give them the truth, like Nathan the Prophet looked at David and said “you’re that man” 2 Samuel 12:7

But these folks weren’t having any of it, they lost out on the truth of God’s word and the truth that would set them free. Which led Jesus to say “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” So they deprived themselves of further teachings.

Are we guilty in the same way today ?

  1. Do we allow our familiarity to breed contempt today with those who teach the word of God in Truth and Love?
  2. Do we allow our familiarity to breed contempt, no longer respecting those we know well and even taking them for granted?
  3. Do we allow our familiarity to breed contempt today, no longer appreciating the importance of the Word of God in our life?

Only you can answer!

Unfortunately Jesus chose to take His message and His blessings somewhere else. We read in Marks gospel of the same event…

And He wondered at their unbelief.
And He was going around the villages teaching

Mark 6:6

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Don’t let it happen to you!

Join me in praying like the Psalmist in Psalm 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.

...and that’s a beautiful thing!

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