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
I couldn’t leave my last post as a stand-alone, because there’s just too much involved in the sword of separation. And things really start to get challenging with Luke 14:26 because good people don’t hate. That’s just common sense and the Golden Rule. And you most assuredly aren’t good if you hate your parents. Right?
“The command of Jesus to hate,
especially those closest relationships,
strikes at the core of our desire to be good.”
Martha Kilpatrick, Leave Thy Parents
I really struggled with this one. Now, I knew that I hated. There was no hiding my hate – not from myself or anyone else. Back then, it would have taken less time to list the things I didn’t hate then those I did. Picturing myself hating someone – anyone! – wasn’t a problem. I just didn’t believe that hating was remotely useful, so I couldn’t figure out why Jesus would make it a requirement for someone who wanted to be His disciple.
What possible use can there be to hate parents? Leave Thy Parents discusses two purposes for hate, and I’ll focus on the first and most dramatic one today. Hate plays a pivotal role in freeing children from the oppression and intimidation of their parents. It gives the child room to break free from the tyranny of control. To illustrate, let’s say a baby elephant is tied to a pole with sturdy rope. It tries and tries but cannot break the rope. Eventually the baby elephant stops trying. It grows and grows into two tons of magnificent bulk, but that same rope is used to restrain it. Though the rope is no match for a full-grown elephant, the elephant doesn’t know that. The lesson of its failed attempts to break free while still a baby holds sway in its mind. However, should this elephant be provoked, its fury would override that lesson, and it would break the illusive tether as a result.
As a child, I was told what to think and what to choose. I grew to believe that my will was not intact – that my choice would not hold – and this made me very afraid. And very vulnerable. This belief that I had no real choice created great internal conflict as my fear warred with my anger. Fear won for a long time. Fortunately, we all have limits to what we can endure, and I eventually reached mine. Hate was my heart’s fury overriding my fear and screaming “NO! I have a choice and it’s mine and I will NOT give it to you!” Hate was the crutch I needed until I really understood and BELIEVED that my will was intact. I hated until I no longer needed the hate to be free.
There may not be much in the way that I hated that was Godly, but it was healthy. And it was necessary. Now, it’s no small thing to acknowledge hating your parents. I was scared that something was truly wrong with me to be so explosively angry. It was an agony and often confusing, because I also loved them. But the hardest part was how disloyal I felt, and that’s not by accident. In fact, it’s the whole point.
I cannot be a disciple of Christ if my loyalty is divided,
and neither can you.