Good Morning!! YES, you are in the right place! This is the new blog format I chose as part of the changes I am making with Reigning Grace Counseling Center. Same great content, just a new look!
I bet that title grabbed your attention (smile)! This posting is not at all about it being ok to hate various people groups or races or lifestyles. It is never ok to hate people created in the image of God. Instead we find a play on words in our English language that is much clearer in the Greek.
“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." Luke 14:26 (NASB)
When Jesus made this very bold and controversial statement, just what on earth did He mean? Was He telling us to actually hate our family members?
The Matthew recording of these important words of Jesus give us even more insight:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me." Matthew 10:34-40 (NKJV)
As these passages read, it is clear that our Lord was not instructing us to hate our families, He was imparting to us the cost of following Him. The word "hate" in this context means to detest (especially to persecute), by extension- to love less. The original language also says that love for Jesus will cause alienation to occur between the Christian and those unbelieving family members.
Many of us did not grow up in Christian homes, and we departed from the religion we grew up under when God bestowed His grace upon us in the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:4-7). In some cases this has caused great pain to our parents and families as we have left the folds of Catholicism or Lutheranism to follow Christ alone outside of a denomination.
Jesus tells us are to love our families and children and even our very lives less than we love Him. This leads us to make difficult and unpopular decisions that to the unbelieving world don't make sense. It may mean you don't go places or do things with your family because of loving Jesus more than you love them.
In my own family I have such a dilemma- one in my family who professes Christ as Savior intends to marry an unbeliever. We will not be attending this wedding nor condone this clear violation of Scripture (2 Cor. 6:14). We cannot. This has brought about heartache and sorrow in unbelievable quantities for us, and the greatest grief will be the day of the wedding.
Who understands not attending a wedding because of "religion?" (I think often of Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof these days...) It is not for the sake of "religion" that we will not attend, it is because we love the Lord and His Word more than we love our son. We love our son, let me be clear on that. We love him though we cannot condone his blatant disobedience to Scripture. What we are learning is that it is truly difficult to put what one believes into action when it cuts so close to the bone.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and (anything else*)”
Luke 16:13 (NASB) (original text *money*)
Our family surely does not understand! We must honor God above all else.