People have been kept back from following Jesus by their fear of what others think. They haven’t committed their lives to Christ because they’re worried about the opinion of someone else. Maybe it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe it’s a husband or a wife. Maybe it’s a close buddy or a group of friends they hang around with. Maybe it is even their parents.
They know if they were to fully give their lives to Christ, they would lose a bunch of so-called friends. Or it would be the end of a relationship. Or it would cause friction in their home. That is what holds them back.
But Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).
A statement like that sounds shocking, especially because it includes the word hate. But as we balance this with other Scripture, we know that clearly this is not the case. Certainly the Bible is not telling us to hate people. Why would Jesus tell us to honor our father and mother and then also demand that we hate them? Or why would Paul tell husbands, “Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25)?
In context, Jesus wasn’t saying that we should hate people. Essentially He was saying that we should love God so much more than anyone or anything else that our love for those people or things would seem like hatred in comparison.
That makes perfect sense when you think about it. If you want to live your Christian life to the fullest, then love Jesus more than anything else. Do you love Him that way?