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When Hate Is Okay

Scriptures Expounded - Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2015
by Temi Peter
When Hate Is Okay

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:26

There is a worldview on hate as being bad and unacceptable under any circumstance. In fact, the use of the word is being rendered offensive. One is usually advised to use the word ‘dislike’ instead of ‘hate’ where one has to by all means show disapproval of someone or something. In some climes, one can even be arrested for so-called hate speeches. The use of the word ‘hate’ has been demonised. Nothing should or deserves to be hated according to the world. It’s that bad.
Hate can be defined as having an extremely strong feeling of dislike for someone or something. When I came across the scripture above sometime ago, I was peeved. Indeed, the Lord gave hatred for family and self as a precondition for being His disciple. Love for self and family is very paramount in the life of we humans. Naturally, we almost always think of ourselves and our families first whenever we find ourselves in situations, circumstances, occasions and general decision-making. It is rare to find people who do otherwise. For the natural man, love of self and family supercedes the love of anything else.

However, in today’s Bible reading, the Lord makes it clear that whoever cannot hate his family and himself cannot be his disciple. We are going to look into the kind of hate the Lord was talking about. Prior to our Lord’s statement in Luke 14:26, the Lord had told a story in Luke 14:16-24 about how a man had made a great supper and invited many to it. Surprisingly, as good as a supper could be – a free one for that matter, all the invitees as if they had all met and agreed somewhere, began to give one ‘genuine’ reason or the other why they just could not be at the supper. Angered, and in a bid to avoid disgrace, the host of the supper ordered his servant to by all means fill his dinner banquet with all manner of people from the streets, city lanes, highways and hedges. He then declared that none of the earlier invitees would taste of his supper. Well, from the story, they were not interested in the first instance which was why they did not attend it. Hence, the host’s declaration was a foreclosure to the possibility of the originally invited guests making an eventual appearance at the supper since the host had ensured that the banquet was already filled to capacity by all and sundry.
I believe the story above is an illustration of the Lord’s call to discipleship. What the Lord was saying in essence in Luke 14:26, was that whoever can not forsake anything dear to Him for His (Jesus’) sake, cannot be His disciple. What can be dearer than one’s self and family? Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is about the peak of the relationship one can have with Him. Hence, all of us Christians must by all means strive to attain the status of disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple of Jesus must be ready to give up anything that can affect their relationship with Him.

Nothing should come between Christ and his disciple. From time immemorial, men of old have had to give up everything dear to them or deny themselves to become the Lord’s ‘disciples’. In Genesis 12:1, Abram (who later became Abraham) was called to leave his country, kindred and father’s house and he obeyed. Later in Genesis 15:2-17, the Lord told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering and he was ready to carry it out until the Lord stopped him. Abraham was ready to give up his only son for the Lord and he was rewarded for it. So also, Daniel, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego having found themselves in the king’s palace according to Daniel 1:4-20, decided to give up the privilege of having the king’s meal and rather chose to have pulse and water instead. However, rather than show signs of malnourishment, they looked even better than those who did eat the king’s meal and in addition were ten times better in all matters of wisdom and understanding than all other magicians and astrologers in the realm of the king. There was none like unto them because they decided to hate themselves ab initio. Moses decided to hate himself when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-26). This eventually led him to slay an Egyptian whom he found smiting a fellow Hebrew and him going on exile thereafter (Exodus 2:11-15). Jephthah decided to hate himself to be able to fulfil the vow he made to the Lord before going to battle (Judges 11:30-32). He had to sacrifice his only child (daughter) against his wildest dream/imagination. He had this to say in Judges 11:35c:
“…for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.”
Elisha decided to hate his parents and the family business when he left off plowing the oxen, kissed his parents goodbye and went after Elijah (1 Kings 19:19-21). Nehemiah, being the King’s cupbearer, chose to hate himself and forsake the comfort of the King’s palace to return to Judah to build it (Nehemiah 2:5). Ruth chose to hate her people when she decided to cleave to Naomi her mother-in-law rather than return to her people like Orpah did after the demise of her husband (Ruth 1:15-16). Our Lord Jesus’ disciples left all that they had to follow Jesus (Mark 10:28-29). Apostle Paul hated himself by choosing to suffer loss of all things that he may win Christ (Philippians 3:8). And so many others whom time cannot permit me to write on. All of them serve as examples of how one can hate their own family and self for the sake of becoming disciples of Jesus Christ – directly and indirectly. Anything that stands in the way of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ and giving the work of God preeminence over personal engagements must give way at all times. This is the only time hate can be okay.

Posted by:
Temi Peter


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