From the time we are old enough to make choices that we understand the outcome, we are given the ability to prioritize. A child growing has much to learn about priorities and it is the parents roll to teach them that the lack of priorities more often than not leads to consequences that are not always easy to swallow.
One of the most important lessons that Darwin and I have learned in our relationship is that we have seen the consequences of not loving Jesus individually first before trying to love each other. When we put our relationship with the Lord first we can love our families in the very best way. I have to admit reading through the verses today I always get this “what do you mean!!!” feeling when it says ” vs 26 ““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” My mom used to say that the word “hate” was like wishing someone dead, so you can see why this grated me so badly. So, I decided to look further, here is what I found.
The word “hate” according to the ESV Study Bible Commentary is a Semitic (relating to the peoples who speak the Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.) word for “loving less”. To me, that made more sense. We are to love for sure, I Corinthians 13:13 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” From what I can see, the love that we give to our families, and to ourselves is to be prioritized with the love we have for Christ. When we put Him first in priorities of love and devotion, then our lives are enriched with even more “love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control” (Galatians 5:22,23) as fruit in which to extend to our families and even ourselves. When putting our families before our relationship with the Lord the results are quite different. We lean into our own strength, and wisdom for the ability to get through the hard times in life as family, and hard times are a part of life. With Jesus first in our devotion and dedication we are never faced with a situation that we have to face alone. It doesn’t mean life becomes easy, but it does mean that always, no matter what, no matter where He is with us. We put Him as priority and then in times of great ache, or great rejoicing we can celebrate He is our guide and strength in how to love our families through the good, bad and the ugly. In learning more about His love, we learn how to love our families deeper. In learning more of His forgiveness He builds our own ability to forgive. In learning more of His patience in our life, we cultivate patience in which to extend to our families. Doing all that on our own is way more difficult when we don’t have Him first in our sights.
Giving our attention first to Jesus and then to our families is not “hating” them as we see it, but rather loving them enough to put them in priority sequence. When Darwin builds a home, he sees the importance of each stage – foundation – framing – roof. One is dependant on the other for strength and endurance and cannot be built out of priority sequence. Let Jesus build into you priorities in your relationship with Him, He is after all our Cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16).
Love, Hugs n Prayers