“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”.
As a young CHRISTian back in the seventies, reading this verse threw me because I questioned within myself why JESUS would tell us to hate our parents, spouse, children, siblings, and our being. After all, JESUS is all about love towards others this is what we as children of the Most-High GOD through CHRIST JESUS live by, loving others.
Here is the clarification, it does not mean that we are to hate those that are dear and nearest to us. These people are who are deepest within our heart, these are the people we are willing to die for. These are the people that we love the greatest here on earth. And these are the same people who can crush us emotionally.
Look at the scripture in this manner. Here is an example of what I am trying to express; we may need to fulfill an obligation for our parents be it to be in places with or for them, the accomplishments of errands, or such things that parents may request of us. We place GOD on the back or side to fulfill the desires of our parents. Our children [as minors] are participating in whatever events they are in, and we do not support them because we take our obligations more critically than the emotional needs of their young impressionable hearts and emotions. JESUS is all about the kids. But when they have become adults, their minds are more apt to understand our obligations to JESUS, and JESUS has given to us instructions, yet we place JESUS on the back or side to place our adult children above HIM. Our siblings who should be our closest friends are doing something that we are to be included in, yet we know that we must accomplish the desires of JESUS and we place HIS desires for us on the back or side. And as for ourselves, we may be workaholics or have some other addiction/s, all we desire is to come after the desires of JESUS for us and not before. But people are prone to focusing on self will more than the will of GOD. So this is placing JESUS on the back or side until we can make time for HIM later. The last example that I can think of is when the worst thing that can ever happen in our lives is the death of those precious people in our lives, most people just stop. They crumble from the pressure of grief. Because these people are so greatly loved and respected by us that we have made idols of them.
Yes, I wrote idols because though we greatly love and respect these precious souls, none of them have a heaven or hell to place us in. None of them can die in our place and save us from sin. None of them can ultimately and eternally forgive us of past, present, or future sins that we have, do and will commit. None of them can set us free and deliver us from sin and whatever. JESUS is in a class all by HIMself. HE will never share HIS glory, nor will HE compete for our affection. HE has done all that HE is going to do for us and that was to be the precious sacrificial lamb who was put to shame on our behalf so that we have nothing to be ashamed of.
We all have a ministry, and everyone is not called to minister behind the pulpit. Our family is our first ministry and then it continues outwardly. But none of us will have a successful ministry without CHRIST JESUS. Our parents are our gift just as we are gifts to them. So are our siblings, spouse, children, and our lives. These are all gifts.
So, how do we know if we truly hate [not literally] these precious people for the LOVE of CHRIST JESUS [literally] so that we know that we are HIS disciples? Ask yourself this question or have you done this. When these people die [leave this earth] can we continue to praise and worship JESUS amid our grief and pain? Or are we focused on the grief and pain of who and what we have lost? Can we still do what we have been instructed to do for JESUS whatever those obligations are? Can we show ourselves that JESUS is more precious to us than what we are experiencing through things that bring us discomfort?
Yes, it can be difficult for those that is self-conscience rather than being JESUS conscious. But for those who have put JESUS in HIS proper place in their lives, first place though they are going through tough times because they do not want to disappoint those that they love greatly or because they are in a place of bereavement. These are the people who will be recognized as true disciples of JESUS.
I have been in the presence of precious people who were in the presence of bereavement and it would have not been known had it not been spoken. The first person I encountered was one of my dear mentors who when living on this earth was a traveling evangelist who lived under the anointing of GOD’s presence. He was called on the telephone and given the news a few hours before he had to come out and minister the Good News of JESUS to thousands. That his beloved son had just died unexpectantly. Though I am certain he felt the pain of this, he had to do the will of the FATHER and not the will of self. So instead of asking another to speak or canceling the meeting and getting into a jet to go home. He did the will of the FATHER. I encountered two other people who also were in the midst of bereavement one experienced the death of a sibling and the other experienced the death of a mother. Both of these disciples were worshippers and had to come out and lead the congregation in worship. They did so as though nothing was hurting them but the pastors of these wonderful women of GOD told the congregation.
The order of our priority must be:
- Everything CHRIST JESUS
- Everything else