My husband and I had been discussing the words of Jesus.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.
I didn’t hate my husband in the sense that most of us think of when we hear the harsh world. I mean, I loved him more than the air I breathed. But he was not my reason for existence. He was my gift, my partner in life, but he could never completely fill the hole in my heart. Only Jesus could do that.
What did Jesus mean when he challenged us to ‘hate’ our family?
When Christ spoke of hating our family and friends, He meant to hate the worldly attachment. He meant to hate that part of ourselves that wants to place our worth on what others think of us. He meant to hate that part of us that believes we need them to survive, to continue, to keep on living. Again, only Jesus brings eternal life. And it’s that hope of eternal life that keeps us going when illness, pain, and even death come into our perfect little lives.
It’s hard to get to a place where you decide to hate the love of your life, but it’s the only thing that makes the relationship the most that it can be. After all, I can’t put the weight of my emotional well-being on my husband. That’s not fair. I can’t expect him to never hurt my feelings. He will. He has. I can’t put him higher than God, even as much as I adore my dear husband; it’s just not fair to place the title of savior on my spouse. He’s my helpmate, but not my living water. And therefore I hate any worldly, mistaken attachment that would tell me any different. That would be a lie. The devil tells women they can’t live without their man! God would say, “worry not, my child. I hold you both in the palm of my hand.”
And so it goes with my children, my family, my coworkers, my friends. I hate them all. So it goes with my job, my roles in life, the titles I obtain in this world. I count them all meaningless compared to my adoption into God’s family. I am a daughter of the King! The rest, it comes second place.
Perhaps this sounds terrible to you, but it’s actually a decision of love. I’m allowing the people who love me to not bear the burden of fixing my broken heart. Even the people who have hurt me can be forgiven. The father who left me, the boy who cheated on me, the husband who divorced me. They don’t have to carry the weight of my hurt. They don’t have to heal me. Jesus does.
Christ calls us to love! It’s a commandment. And boy, do I love my husband! I love him big time! But the greatest commandment is to love the Lord my God with all my heart. So if my love for my husband or my children tried to overshadow my love for the Lord, that couldn’t work. It would only make the people I clung desperately to feel inadequate. My desire for them to fill me would only hurt them, hurt me. I would resent them. They would resent me too. We might not realize that was the reason. We’d blame it on something else, but deep down it would be the fact that they couldn’t save me, fix me, change me, heal me, or fill me. And I couldn’t do that for them either. Only Jesus.
So, I hate anything I hold dear that tries to lie to me and tell me otherwise. Do I hate the people, per se? Of course not! We’re called to love, and my husband makes it pretty darn easy to love him. But I will hate all day long any lie from Satan that whispers to me that my relationships, accomplishments, or roles in life are what make me who I am, that those things fill the hole in my heart.
After all, only Jesus can do that.