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.