Hate Your Family to Follow Jesus?

There are some parts of the Bible that you would rather just skip over when reading to your kids.  It's just easier than having to explain it to them when you have trouble understanding it yourself!  Luke 14:25-33 is one such passage.  It speaks about the cost of following Jesus.  Verse 26 says, "if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple."  Try explaining that one to your kids in simple, age-appropriate terms! Now normally I might pass over passages like this one with my children.  But surprisingly these verses were included in the Mighty Acts of God Family Story Bible we're reading through together right now.  And it prompted a good discussion between me and my two little girls (6 and 8).

As expected, they didn't understand why Jesus would want us to hate our family to follow him.  They reminded me that the Bible says you need to honor your father and mother and obey your parents.  I nodded my head in agreement and tried to explain that Jesus wants us to love him more than anything else, even our family members.  My oldest daughter replied, "But Daddy, I really really love Jesus and I really really love you.  So why would Jesus say this if he's the Son of God and he's supposed to say everything right."

Don't you love the blunt honesty of kids?  It's refreshing!  I didn't get to go into detail about these verses, but we did talk a little more about how everything Jesus says is true even when it's hard to understand.  And if we don't understand something, we should ask God to give us wisdom.

As it turns out, I'm the one who needs wisdom on this issue.  Lord willing, in my next post I'll write about the radical reinterpretation of what it means to follow Jesus and "leave one's own family to join another."  Your thoughts are always welcome.