Must I Hate Parents?

family cracked

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.

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    • pearl

      A BIG AMEN to this….very interesting this whole series…I must delve into it more….this seems like a pivotal key that I have somehow missed…it’s definitely peeking my interest to study further! Thank you for sharing all this!

    • Susie

      The crux of the matter is that of loyalty! The forever question is whom or what will we serve! In Matthew 6:24 (Amplified) Jesus flat out tells us that ‘no one can serve two masters; for either he will HATE the one and LOVE the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other.’ In order to be a disciple of Christ, in order to be His totally and undivided in loyalty, we have to work out our own salvation so that we know and He knows that we are unequivocally HIS!!!! No one or nothing of this earth, certainly, or of the universe holds our heart but HIM. Scripture also tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. If mastery over our affections is not settled within us, we falter because of inner conflict: feel pain, anger, bitterness, etc. And we inflict all the fruits of attempting to have Jesus and our private affections (loyalty to parents, children, job, whatever) on those around us. It’s inner conflict because we aren’t fully submitted to the Lordship of Christ! Once we get the question settled of Whom we will serve, our ‘house’ is at peace because we’re aligned fully in our loyalty to Christ! It’s called living in the Kingdom of Heaven and operating within His government! But, oh, the battle against culture and tradition to get there!!!!

      • Sam


    • Sam

      Uffff!!! Strong words here, Jen. But so filled with reality and the REAL God operations. I thank you again, and I echo pearl comments.

      It seems you had a “close encounter of the third kind” with our need to have our own adventure with God, the need to know and live in reality that He is for you and you for Him and no one can get in between… otherwise HIS HATE coming through! While I read you, I saw the HATE of God (which is filled of Love) getting in between us and our relatives.

      This sounds so crazy to our natural tendencies!

    • Hannah

      Ugh! I’m in this place right now. Especially towards my mom. I’m in a season where I go against almost anything she suggests. She’s a strong-willed person and for all of my life I pretty much have done what she has asked. Sometimes I feel like I’m being dishonoring and sometimes I wonder if I’m just refusing wise counsel. But at the same time, I just don’t want to be controlled and I want her to honor my choices. It’s very frustrating because like you said, I love her so much and she is a godly woman, but just hasn’t come to understand that I have a free will…

      Thanks for bringing more clarity.

      • Patricia

        Sounds to me like you’re doing the right thing. This is how we learn to make our own decisions, and at some point find and follow the Lord’s plan for our life, which frequently doesn’t coincide with Mom’s plans for us.

    • Sharon

      I have found the secret. The word “hate” means to “Love Less”. We are to love less anyone over Jesus. It is a very strong word. I don’t believe I could honor my father and mother if we hated them. The way we use the word “hate” to day is anything other than to love less. Hate is opposite of God who is “Love”. Hate can turn into bitterness, unforgiveness,malice and the spirit of murder. Hate is the “fruit” of satin. I think one must think of the word “hate” is to love less. Anything else is to me dangerous. I don’t have “my own will” because I have surrendered it to Jesus. My will is also very precarious. Complete submission of my will to Jesus is Life.

      • Jennifer

        I know that most people take that view, Sharon, and Martha addresses it in Leave Thy Parents. Ultimately, I point you to her teachings if you want the specifics. But I stand by my use of hate (Greek miseo: to detest, to persecute) as hate and not simply “loving less” in these posts. God does not leave us in our hate, but it is part of the dealing. We are human and we hate, and we cut ourselves off from the solution if we won’t even confess that basic fact. God alone can separate out the illegitimate hate; we are responsible to bring ALL of it to the Light to be cleansed and freed. Hate is not the goal, and it’s not where we are to stay, but there is a time for it, and that includes our dealing with parents and family.

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