“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26 NLT

Reading that verse, some may question how they can hate their father and mother and simultaneously honor them (since the Bible appears to be telling us to do both). Some may even ask the more obvious question: “How are we supposed to love everyone if this verse is telling us to hate?”

The answer is simple and lies within two words found near the beginning of this verse: by comparison. By comparison to how much you love God, your love for others should look like hate because your love for God is so much greater than your love for others. You don’t hate anyone, but God is so important to you that no one else stands a chance at comparing to Him.

This means that if it comes down to choosing between serving your family or serving God, you would choose God even if this choice might upset or anger your family. Better yet, if any “either/or” situation is posed where a decision has to be made between God and between anything or anyone else, God would be the the ultimate and immediate choice. Our love for God should be so great that it is unshakeable, and to us it seems as though there is no other choice because the obvious and the best answer will always be God.

This decision doesn’t just stop at family. It applies to our own lives and pleasures, as well. Jesus also said in that verse that we should hate even our own selves in comparison to how much we love Him. That means giving up guilty pleasures that we know are taking away from time that would be better spent with God. It means listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit even when what He tells us to do isn’t exactly what we want to hear. It means not living to please us and to please our flesh, but we are instead living to please God. We do it all simply because we love Him so much more than we love ourselves.

My challenge to you is to ask yourself how much you love God. What do you love the most? The answer to that can be found in what or who you spend the most time with and are willing to sacrifice the most for. Is it your job? Your family? Your hobbies? Yourself? Or is it God?

Published by Amber Oglesby