This is a hard saying. Who can bear it? Jesus is telling us to hate the people we should love the most: our parents, our spouse, and our children. This thought, taken on its own, contradicts so much of the rest of his teaching as to leave us confused and filled with wondering about his meaning.
But it’s important to remember that you can’t just pluck a verse of scripture out of the Bible and imagine that it contains the whole of God’s revelation in of itself. Each part of scripture is meant to be read in conversation with other parts of the scriptures. And frankly it’s a disservice to the writing of scripture to pick an artificial chunk like a sentence when most likely the fundamental unit of scripture is a story or whole passage, not a single phrase or thought.
So, can we find a deeper spiritual truth here that is in harmony with the other parts of the Gospel or with the rest of scripture? Yes, I believe we can. It is found in what Jesus is asking us to do, and why he’s asking us to do it. This passage, when read in the light of the rest of the Gospel of Luke, contains the prescription to cure us of our selfishness. But not the part about hating the people you should love – you have to read the entire passage.
In this week’s sermon, I develop this idea and try to expound on the deeper spiritual truth.
Direct link to the video is found here.