Unless You Hate Your Family, You Can’t Be Jesus’s Disciple. What?

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Luke 14:26

When we look at the world today, hate is not in short supply. One might even say there is a massive and seemingly unending surplus. However, when Jesus tells us in the Bible that we must hate others to be His disciple, it seems contrary to everything Scripture teaches us about love and compassion. Some would even say it creates a contradiction in the Bible because, after all, it is just a book written by men centuries ago.

It makes it easy to love others when that love is mutual, but what comes even more effortless to us is to hate others who hate us. The real challenge comes where Jesus calls us to love and do good to those who hate us. While such love sounds impossible to the world, it’s not to those who know God’s love.

However, it can be somewhat confusing for new Christians and perhaps even some seasoned Christians as they read the words of Jesus when he said if we do not hate our fathers, mothers, and family, we cannot be His disciples. Those are pretty solid words and a stringent requirement for us to be the Lord’s disciples.

When Jesus taught that we must hate our fathers and mothers to be His disciple, He did not contradict the commandment that tells us to honor our father and mother. Jesus was using the technique of stark contrast to exert His point. In other words, Jesus tells us that our love for Him must far surpass the love we have for others that our love for others would seem like hate in comparison.

Therefore, in the days ahead and always, let’s be mindful to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Second to our love for God, let us love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and, like the song by Jars of Clay, “…And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they’ll know that we are Christians by our love…”

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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