A theology of ‘chosen family’ liberates us from toxic relationships

Does Jesus call us to forgive, accept, and maintain toxic relationships with family? Does Jesus want us to honour abusive parents? For too long the church has preached a message that calls victims of abuse, both physical and emotional, to keep open painful and dangerous family connections for the sake of “Christian family values.” This kind of thinking always infuriated me, and I asked myself, is this how Jesus wanted us to live our lives? But, after turning to the Gospel of Mark, my answer to that question is now an emphatic hell no!