Jesus said, “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.” (Luke 14:26, NIV) What did he mean?
Jesus’ words can be better understood by reading a parallel passage with different rewording: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn’t worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37, WEB)
As Christians, God and Jesus must come first, others come second, and we third. No one else but Yahweh God Almighty and Jesus should occupy the number one spot in our heart and mind. They are whom we must please foremost.
If anyone, even our most loved ones such as our parent, child or spouse, rejects God and orders us to do the same, we must choose God over their order. We are to honor our mother and father; but the only time we should “dishonor” them is when we choose God over them. If they or anyone else tell us to do something in contrary to God’s precepts and principles, we must refuse. If they demand us to choose either them or God, we must choose God. This may mean being kicked out of our homes and disinherited. Indeed, this is what many Christians have chosen.
If our government commands us to do something sinful or forbids us to become a Christian, we must disobey. By doing so, we may be executed. This is the tough decisions that many Christians have to make, particularly in countries where Christianity is illegal.
If we strongly desire to do something but it goes against God’s will, then we must restrain ourselves from doing it, rather than to justify our actions. For instance, homosexual people who love those of the same gender and wish to get married must restrain from doing so because God declares that homosexual lifestyle is a sin. However, the gay community justifies their sins by saying, “Doesn’t God tell us to love one another? How could there be anything wrong with pure love?” It’s wrong because you love yourself more than God. If you love God and Jesus foremost, you would sacrifice and deny yourself and take up your cross to follow Christ.
As Jesus said, we must “hate” our parents, our children, our spouses, and even our lives to be worthy to be his disciples. “Hate” in this sense is the absence of “priority love” that is reserved for God and Jesus only. We must not love anyone else more than we love God and Jesus. We must “hate” all others in comparison. We must be willing to abandon all in order to follow him, and “all” includes our earthly life. When we do, we will gain eternal life and fellowship with Yahweh and Jesus, the Beings of our adoration.
Although Christianity is not illegal in the US, Christians still have to make the choice between loving foremost God and Jesus and loving their family or friends. Christians who live by God’s Word are often ridiculed and called “ignorant” and “naive.” Some are even called “haters” when they speak out against homosexuality and gay marriage. For such genuine Christians, they are correct when they aim to please God more than man, to choose God and Jesus over man, to live by the divine laws than manmade laws that are filled with sin and warped justice.
As Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
Persecution is to be expected when we live a genuinely Christian life. If you have been mocked at or worse for the sake of Christ, rejoice, for your reward is great: entrance into the Kingdom of God. Do not give up! The cost of discipleship is costly, yes, but its divine blessings (such as eternal fellowship with God) far surpass its costs!
Do you love God and Jesus most of all? Your lifestyle will answer this question for you!