25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-33)
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his mother and father, his wife and children he is not worthy of me. We think of hate as a strong word. Today this and stupid are words with harsher ramifications than the words my parents would wash my mouth out with soap for using. We are told not to hate. We are told Christians shouldn’t hate. And I really don’t know where this sort of thing comes from. I read the Bible cover to cover first when I was sixteen, and it raised suspicions then that have been confirmed over and over again through the years, my Sunday school teachers never bothered to read it. We live in a culture that assumes much to its own detriment that it knows what the Bible says. This is as true of the Baptist preachers on television as it is the celebrities mocking it at the gay pride rallies. We assume the Bible condones and affirms our societal norms, and to tell you the truth it condemns most of them. This is why Jesus says you must hate. You must hate, because being a Christian will cause the world to hate you. It will earn you the ridicule of the world that crucified your Lord and savior, be ready for it. Being a Christian will mean your own family turning on you, and you who have put your hand to the plow cannot afford to turn and look back lest you become a pillar of salt.
But it is a strange thing about hate. Hate as they say is not the opposite of love, that is indifference. The world would like you to be merely indifferent. Then you would be like them, neither hot nor cold and spit out by the Lord. No hate is the flipside of love, but not the opposite. Hate means you care, hate means you care enough to despise sin, to despise death, to not give in to the world that stands by and watches mass slaughter with indifference. Hate means you actually have to give a kiting copulation about something. So like a jealous lover you will hate those who hate what you love. But the hate is yet a longing that they too would love what you love.
Yes, being a Christian may mean your wife leaves you. There is indication that his was true of Paul who trained Luke. And you have to be ready to forsake your family for the sake of Christ. Finally it is the only way you will ever be able to share with them the true love that is Christ. This does not mean that the family should shun their children for leaving the Christian faith, but that the children may just shun the family, and in such circumstances you have to remain true to Christ, which also means always willing to forgive, constantly holding out the hand of friendship even when it gets bit. For the Christian, hating does not mean a willingness to kill for the faith, but to be killed for the faith. It means a willingness to stand up for what is right in the face of death, and be willing to die. The world does not understand this. It would rather you love this world more than Christ. It is jealous to you see. And it was scorned by our Lord. The Lord knew it only had death to offer, he rejected all the kingdoms of the world and all its riches and political power. He forsook it all when it was offered. He went to the cross instead. He went there to die and give you freedom from this world of death. And the world will send you there too for loving him who scorned it out of love for you.