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Demands of Discipleship: Hate

September 10, 2022

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his followers that unless they hate their parents, siblings, spouses, and their own lives, they cannot be his disciples. He also tells us to not delay discipleship to bury our loved ones or say goodbye to them. Wow! What’s that all about? Jesus requires hatred??

Too often, modern translations of ancient texts often fall short in their attempt at conveying the original meaning of those ancient languages. We see this in the original Greek descriptions of “Love” (i.e., Eros, Philio, Storge and Agape) and the original Hebrew explanation for “Hell” (i.e., unknown place, as in “we don’t know where people go after they have died”). In both cases, improved translations give us a much better understanding of each word, and therefore a better comprehension of the texts–especially biblical teachings that pertain to those words and many more.

“Love” means Eros,

Jesus was not telling his would-be disciples to have emotional loathing for his loved ones, because that would be immoral and illogical–both of which Jesus cannot be or do. Instead, our Lord teaches them–and us–that discipleship requires complete devotion and commitment to him–God–while at the same time loving our loved ones. We have to change our lives, by orienting them to him. By doing that, Jesus assures us, we will not go to a place “unknown” to anyone, but to a loving home in God’s kingdom.