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To get a proper understanding of those verses, let’s read Luke 14:25-33, “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

These are very strong words and we need the Word of God to help us understand what exactly the Lord Jesus is talking about here.  We know without a doubt that the Lord expects us to honor our parents.  The Lord, Himself, tells us in Matthew 15:4, “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”  We know from the Word of God that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church as we read in Ephesians 5:25 which says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

Why is it that the Lord instructs us to love others, and yet He tells us to hate others, and even hate ourselves?  We must understand that the Lord’s words in Luke 14 are in a comparative sense.  Our love to the Lord must be greater than our love to our parents, our spouses, our children, and especially to ourselves.  We read in Matthew 22:37 that, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  It is only when we put the Lord first in our lives that we are really capable of serving and honoring Him.

This sense of comparative feelings is more thoroughly expressed in Matthew 10:37-39 where the Lord says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  We see that the Lord Jesus had such tender compassion on His mother when He made sure that she would be taken care of even as He was dying on the cross.  John 19:26-27 says, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”  He left us the proper example that we should indeed love others, but our love for the Lord must be greater.  We cannot put others above the Lord and still be His servant.  In fact, we will learn that the more we put the Lord above others, the more love He gives us for others.  Do you want to love your wife or husband more?  Then, put Christ first in all things.  He will give you greater love for each other.

We must especially put Christ above ourselves.  Christ, Himself, said in John 12:25, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”  The Apostle Paul understood that precept.  He said in Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, if we consider all things from an eternal perspective and follow the teaching of Colossians 3:2 which says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”, the Lord will give us hearts for Himself, and give us a greater love for others.  As we read in Romans 5:5, “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”  (55.2)