Hating One's Parents
'If any one 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' (Luke 14:26)
This is a hard saying in more senses than one: it is hard to accept and it is hard to reconcile it with the general teaching of Jesus. The attitude which it seems to recommend goes against the grain of nature, and it also goes against the law of love to one's neighbor which Jesus emphasized and radicalized. If the meaning of' neighbor' must be extended so as to include one's enemy, it must not be restricted so as to exclude one's nearest and dearest.
What does it mean, then? It means that, just as property can come between us and the kingdom of God (see p. 174), so can family ties. The interests of God's kingdom must be paramount with the followers of Jesus, and everything else must take second place to them, even family ties. We tend to agree that there is something sordid about the attitude which gives priority to money-making over the nobler and more humane Issues of life. But a proper care for one's family is one of those nobler and more humane issues. Jesus himself censured those theologians who argued that people who had vowed to give God a sum of money which they later discovered could have been used to help their parents in need were not free to divert the money from the religious purposes to which it had been vowed in order to meet a parental need. This, he said, was a violation of the commandment to honor one's father and mother (Mark 7:9-13).
Nevertheless, a man or woman might be so bound up by family ties as to have no time or interest for matters of even greater moment, and there could be no matter of greater moment than the kingdom of God. The husband and father was normally the head of the household, and he might look on his family as an extension of his own personality to the point where love for his family was little more than an extended form of self-love. Jesus strongly deprecated such an inward-looking attitude and used the strongest terms to express his disapproval of it. If' hating' one's relatives is felt to be a shocking idea, it was meant to be shocking, to shock the hearers into a sense of the imperious demands of the kingdom of God. We know that in biblical idiom to hate can mean to love less. When, for example, regulations are laid down in the Old Testament law for a man who has two wives, 'one beloved and the other hated' (Deut. 21:15), it is not necessary to suppose that he positively hates the latter wife; all that need be meant is that he loves her less than the other and must be prevented from showing favoritism to the other's son when he allocates his property among his heirs. The RSV indicates that positive hatred is not intended by speaking of the one wife as 'the loved' and the other as 'the disliked', but the Hebrew word used is that which regularly means 'hated', and it is so rendered in the AV.
That hating in this saying of Jesus means loving less is shown by the parallel saying in Matthew 10:37: 'He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.' In Matthew's Gospel these words are followed by the saying about taking up the cross and following Jesus (see p. 150): the implication of this sequence is that giving one's family second place to the kingdom of God is one way of taking up the cross.
We can perhaps understand more easily the action of those who choose a celibate life to devote themselves more unreservedly to the service of God, those who, as Jesus said on another occasion, 'have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven' (Matt. 19:12; see p. 63). But the saying with which we are at present concerned refers to those who are already married and have children, not to speak of dependent parents. That Jesus' followers included some who had dependents like these and had left them to follow him is plain from his own words: 'There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, ... who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time,... and in the age to come eternal life' (Mark 10:29-30). Might this not involve the abandonment of natural responsibilities? Who, for example, looked after Peter's family when he took to the road as a disciple of Jesus? We are not told. Clearly his wife survived the experience, and her affections apparently survived it also, for twenty-five years later he was accustomed to take her along with him on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5).
Later in the New Testament period, when family life was acknowledged as the norm for Christians, it is laid down that, 'If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever' (1 Tim. 5:8). There is no evidence in the Gospels that this conflicts with the teaching of Jesus. But this needed no emphasizing from him: it is natural for men and women to make what provision they can for their nearest and dearest. Jesus' emphasis lay rather on the necessity of treating the kingdom of God as nearer and dearer still. Because of the natural resistance on the part of his hearers to accepting this necessity with literal seriousness, he insisted on it in the most arresting and challenging language at his command.
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From Our Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot and Primate, +Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
A Fool For Christ who believes
"Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater"
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“I prefer a defeat accompanied by humility to a victory accompanied by pride.”
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The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption! It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".
"It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate
Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)
One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand? Are you a complacent person? In light of the saying, examine yourself! You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!
tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came,
but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."
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"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
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