Let’s read Luke 14:25-26, “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.” I don’t believe the Lord meant for us to take the word “hate” literally. If He did, it would contradict other scriptures. We are told in Ephesians 6:2 to “Honour thy father and mother.” We could NOT honor our parents if we hated them. The same would hold true for all of our loved ones; for we read in 1st Peter 2:17, “Honor all men.”

The word “hate” in this passage has the thought of “loving less.” This is made clear in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ words. In Matthew 10:37 Jesus said, “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.” When men see us giving the Lord Jesus first place in our lives and LOVING HIM MORE than anyone else, they may actually accuse us of “hating our parents, children, or siblings,” when in truth we are simply putting Jesus before them. We will show this “superior love” for the Lord by making the decision to follow Him and His will, even if our family is trying to persuade us to do something else.

An excellent example of this in the life of our Lord Jesus is found in Matthew 12:47-50. It reads, “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Jesus’ mother and His siblings desired to speak with Him and no doubt were using their natural relationship to Him to gain His ear. But Jesus refuses to listen to them. Why did He do this? Because He loved His Father and His Father’s will more than He loved His earthly family. I’m quite sure there were those who thought Jesus was dishonoring His mother and family and perhaps some accused Him of actually “hating them.” But in truth He was “loving His Father more than His earthly family” and by extension He was “loving His earthly family less than His heavenly Father.” (256.1) (DO)