If I were to ask you what the hardest Scripture in the Bible is, what would you say? To me, that answer is very easy. In my opinion, the hardest Scripture in the Bible is
Matthew 10:37 which reads, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Wow! What a toughie! I am blessed with wonderful parents, and wonderful children, whom I love more than life itself. Does that mean that I am not worthy of Christ? Well, it depends. Do I love Christ more than life itself? Do I love Christ MORE than I love even my physical family? If I don’t, Jesus says plainly that I am not worthy of him.
The parallel passage to this verse, Luke 14:26, takes it even further. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Ouch! OK wait a minute. First you say that I can’t love my family the way I love Christ, NOW you say I actually have to hate them?! How can Christ ask such a thing of me?
Easily. He has set the example for us. In Matthew 12:48-50 we find Jesus in this very situation, “but he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand towards his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus is not telling us that we can’t love our physical families. He’s certainly not telling us we have to actually hate our physical families, but what he IS saying, is that HE must come first! The CHURCH must come first! So often we get so tied up in our own physical families, especially those of us who are blessed with Christian families, that we neglect the Lord’s church. Jesus is saying that this should not be the case!
Although we should not hate anyone, especially our families, if we were to compare our love for Christ with our love for our families, it should seem that we hate them because our love for God is so vast! In truth, loving God IS loving our families. My greatest dread would be to find myself in the fiery pit of Hell, and look over and see my husband, my children, my parents, there with me. The best way to prevent that is to follow Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
What better way to love your parents than to follow Ephesians 6:1-3? What better way to love your children than by Ephesians 6:4? What better way to love your spouse than Ephesians 5:22-33? You see, God’s Word IS love. Christianity IS love. It is the only way we truly have love for one another John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” How did Jesus show his love for others? He encouraged and exhorted them, He corrected them when they needed it, He said the hard things, and ultimately, He laid down his life for even his enemies!
One of the saddest things I have ever heard said, and unfortunately I really did hear it, is this, “Well, I once believed this verse that way until it affected someone I love. Then I had to change my opinion.” Unfortunately for this person, God’s Word does not change. There are some very hard teachings in Scripture; Christianity is not always easy, but if we TRULY have love for our family and for our friends, can we withhold the truth from them? Can we leave them to a fiery Hell without at least trying to share with them the truth, and still say that we have love?
Sisters, God’s Word is the bread of life. It is the only way to salvation. And as much as we love our families, and as much as they love us, that love pales in comparison to the love of God the Father! Worldly love, love that looks the other direction when those we “love” are in error pales in comparison to the love we show when God’s Word trumps everything else in our lives! Let us strive daily to truly love one another. Let us strive daily to take up the challenge presented in Matthew and Luke and let us rise to the occasion! Let us have love!
Sisters, God’s Word is the bread of life. It is the only way to salvation. And as much as we love our families, and as much as they love us, that love pales in comparison to the love of God the Father! -Lacy Crowell