“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” vs. 26
There’s no doubt about it, sometimes the teachings of Jesus are baffling and we wonder what he could possibly have in mind. Here he tells the crowds that becoming his disciple is more important than the most intimate family relationships–it could even mean the loss of life. And he says it in the most dramatic way that he possibly could–his followers will need to hate everyone they’ve loved for all of their lives! That’s strong language! So what’s he up to?
Obviously he’s not telling them to stop loving their neighbor–in fact, he’s told them before to love even their enemies. Perhaps he’s saying that all those things that we often regard as being number one in our lives simply aren’t capable of holding that position. Parents, spouses, or children are not able to hold the center of our devotion for more than a few years–even life itself has a fragility about it. If we’re going to have a focus that will completely satisfy it can’t be a person that we love more than life itself. No person can be our God! But as we give up our focus on the family and take up the cross of Christ we catch a glimpse of the Divine and our lives begin to burst with joy and love–and even those from whom we are estranged can be blessed.
Thought for the Day: When have family connections failed me?