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Hate Your Family?

Luke 14:26 says, “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 (NKJV). Does it really mean hate? If not, what does it mean?

Our group was having a discussion about offenses and anger. How do we move beyond the things we feel so that we can bring healthy input to what could be a high level conflict? We move too easily into what I call a “dog” judgment (Matt. 7:1-6), where others have become a dog or a swine to us. We are angry and the other person has become a despicable thing.

Once the other person has become low life to us, we will send a message to that person that he is of no value. That will happen whether we try to use good communication skills or not. People are spiritual perceivers. They pick up on it when we are walking in anger.

To get past anger, I believe God has to be in a higher place—a much higher place than people. When we choose to take offense at another person, it shuts down our ability to commune with God. When we choose to stay offended for a long time, it is guaranteed to squeeze our ability to connect with God down to nothing. In other words, choosing to stay offended is choosing the offense over the presence of God. Ouch!

If God truly is much higher than people, how can we stay offended? The longer we stay offended, the less it should be about the offender and the more we should be looking ourselves in the eye saying, “Seriously? You are choosing to focus on the offense when it is shutting down your walk with God? You care that little about God that you would throw away your life with Him so that you can hang on to your offense?

If God is higher than people, it’s over. You repent for shutting God out. The offense takes on a whole new perspective. Chances are, you can now talk to the person who was the source of your anger. Chances are, the message you will send to that person will now be much different since the “high and mighty” has been purged from you. Chances are that the point of offense will be resolved and the relationship will be restored.

That is what happens when God is much higher in value to us than how a particular person treats us. I believe that is also the meaning of the verses in Luke 14. God is to be much higher than even our closest friends or family. So much higher, that it could be described that we “hate” our family when we compare love for family to our unbelievable love for God.

Not only that, if you have followed the logic, when we love God that way, it actually helps us resolve the conflicts we have with others. It helps us walk with a clean heart, loving others.

God does not want us to “hate” others, but using the word “hate” in the verse sends a strong message. God is to be much, much higher than any other thing in our lives. When He is in that place, we are capable of loving one another.

How strong is your love for God? Strong enough to help you walk through offenses?

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