From Hating to Loving Parents

man with bitter mother

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, and even his own life–he cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:26 HCSB

My last post discussed one of the ways that hate is useful.  It was a little dramatic perhaps, and I imagine a few people would say it didn’t apply to their own situation.  Well, fear not!  Today I discuss a purpose for hate that applies to every human who’s ever drawn breath: severing contracts and killing expectations.

In previous posts on separation, I wrote about how our expectations and obligations operate as contracts and imprison us.  For example, “If you do X, then I’ll love you.”  The child-parent relationship is rife with the bondage of contracts.  The expectations of our parents weigh heavily on us, especially when we can’t live up to them or can’t perform them.  When our failure leads to parental rejection, the hurt of this rejection is often followed by rage.  I’ve had more than a few fits before the Lord, screaming about my parents, “Get off me! I hate you!”

When it comes to parents, we can’t even see all the contracts at work in our lives apart from God showing us.  Only God can unscramble the egg of this primal relationship.  In His own timing, the Lord brings to light the most paralyzing and damaging contracts between us.  When He showed me, I hated what I saw.  I hated my parents for expecting of me what I just couldn’t do.  I hated myself, both for failing AND for feeling obligated to continue trying despite not being able.  And I hated God for allowing all of it.

I hated down to the bottom of all God showed me, and when I was finished, the expectations had been killed and the contracts were void.  It took as long as it took, and then it was done.  In the emptiness on the other side of hate, I had a choice to make: forgive or don’t forgive.  I chose to forgive because I so needed forgiveness for myself – and all the bloody contracts I’d initiated.

Dealing with parents involves hating them, but it isn’t arbitrary or cruel.  There is a purpose in it and a time for it.

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to love, and a time to hate.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8a KJV

God doesn’t leave us hating our parents; that’s not His goal.  Hate simply plays a part in destroying our idolatry, exposing our sins for the purpose of repentance, exposing our parents’ sins for the purpose of forgiveness, and releasing us from the bondage of obligation and expectation.  Only when we are free of them can we truly love and honor our parents . . . as God commands us to do.

“When you hate a person, it means that your expectation of them has died. And when you get past that, you are then ready to love. In every relationship, that phase of hatred, that terrible disappointment, must come so that your illusions and expectations and selfish wishes die – and then you can love for no reason.
Martha Kilpatrick, Leave Thy Parents

I don’t just love my mom and dad now; I cherish them.  By cherish, I don’t mean a goopy, la-la affection of the Hallmark variety.  I mean that I value and treasure them as God’s sovereign, perfect choice for me. To honor my parents is to honor my heavenly Father, and hating them was just part of the path to loving them with agape love.

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    • Susan

      Love how this is written Jennifer. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

    • Carol

      “It was a little dramatic perhaps….” How can you paint the deep woods at this time of year, in light pastels? On the contrary, Jenn, it was real. And healing oil for me in more ways than parents.
      After reading your post I went to my bible and opened it to Psalm 68.
      Verse 11 in the Amplified. “The Lord gives the word (of power); the women who bear and publish (the news) are a great host.”
      And it is also applicable for John as well as the NIV says “The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it”
      In response to his smack dab on target for me post from yesterday!!:)
      All I can say is YES THIS IS HIS BODY!! Thank you Thank you

    • Diane

      This has been great writing Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your heart so freely. I have a question that keeps coming to me thru your posts. Is it possible to be at peace with your parents yet experience this same “hate” towards other relationships in your life? For example, siblings, children, spouses, friends, etc, or do all of our relationships funnel back to our parents? I would really appreciate other insight. Thanks!

      • Jennifer

        Great question, Diane! In Luke 14:26, Jesus also mentions spouses, children, and siblings. As hate plays a role in severing contracts and entanglements, then yes, you can experience hate in every imaginable relationship. Idolatry is not confined merely to our parents. However, our relationship with our parents is THE primal tie. Until I made peace with my dad and mom, I “hated” a few people in my life for no reason other than transference. So it’s very important to hear the Holy Spirit and be led by Him. Martha’s series on the Holy Spirit, “The Spirit and the Wind,” is a phenomenal teaching on all the offices of the Spirit and all the ways we so desperately need Him. We can’t live this life without Him.

    • Sam

      “Only when we are free of them can we truly love and honor our parents . . . as God commands us to do.”

      There is a lot of light involved in your painful process, Jen.

    • Sharon

      Thank you for explaining what you were leading these issues back into God’s hands. I must ask your forgiveness for jumping the gun on it. Thank you for your kindness and love that you have shown. I feel The Lord has set me free to love my parents right where they are with His kind of Love. I am at total peace and love them and honor them as I have Grown thru The Lord. They will have their 71st anniversary the 27th of June. The glory goes to God for me to even be where He has mended the relationships into beautiful compassion and love for them. Thanks again for helping me to understand where you were coming from.

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