“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26-27 NIV
To say I have struggled with this passage from the Gospel of Luke would be an understatement. Perhaps it is the word ‘hate’. Perhaps it is the completely wrong idea it plants–scripture is not always easy to understand. If it were we could have avoided many millennium of division, wars, arguments or maybe not since we are who we are–human. Whatever the cause, I have struggled.
Then this morning as I read the 14th chapter of Luke, I realized that God was not asking me to reject or abandon the ones I love. Nor was He asking me to act as if my life has no value. He asks me to embrace the Life He has for me, to trust Him with the lives of those I love, to stop grappling with him for control, to follow Him.
When I follow, God’s love begins to flow through me allowing me to love others and even myself with greater goodwill and the more I do this the fuller and freer my life becomes. Loving God first and foremost especially helps me love others when I find them less than loveable. I hope therefore since I can be difficult at times–like frequently–that they also love God first.
And besides when I really wonder about what all this means I just remind myself.
Jesus left heaven for me. . .and you.