Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Thought

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”  Luke 14:26

“Hate” is a very strong word which expresses, at least in our common language, the precise opposite of “love”.  It is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to understand what Jesus is talking about especially when He seems to encourage rejection and violation of one of the fundamental commandments of the Lord: “You shall honor your mother and your father”.  The others of our families, those for whose care we are accountable to the Lord, also have a special place in our hearts.  For this language, then, to seem to offer the ultimatum of “Me or them” seems downright cruel and unreasonable.

Of course the choice of the word “hate” is rhetorical.  It cannot reasonably be said that Jesus is requiring us to “hate” anyone, but He is calling to our attention those in our lives who have the capacity to interfere with our relationship with the Lord.  It must also be considered that within the context of the time and culture of Luke, following Jesus was quite radical.  Following Him would ultimately cause divisions within families; in fact, it can be said there are such divisions even today.

Yet we must be mindful of the priority Jesus is teaching.  We do not love God incidentally by loving those in our lives first.  Rather we love those in our lives purposefully by loving God first intentionally, just as Jesus affirms the “greatest commandment” as taught by Moses.  When we actively express and engage love to our Holy Father first by trusting and obeying His Word, we receive from our Lord the capacity and ability to love even those who can often be quite unlovable, including members of our own families!  We are given the spiritual capacity to move beyond the biological and the emotional and into the intentional and purposeful.  This, as it is written, “is the beginning of wisdom”; that is, “fear (intense respect) of the Lord”.


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