“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” ~ Jesus (Luke 14:26)
This is one of the most difficult sayings of Jesus. In classic hyperbole language, He tells us that the weightiest part of our finite love should be directed at God.
But even knowing that this is hyperbole, it doesn’t make it any easier.
Cornelia, the main character and narrator of How Shall We Love?, is asked by Shepherd, her father, to lie about his relationship with one of his students. Before this moment, Shepherd is Cornelia’s biggest hero. She wants to love him no matter what and to live with him instead of with her mom, but he’s all but outlawed her pursuit of Christianity. (You find out why later on in the novel.)
This brings up the question: Do we value family so much that we’d disregard the commands of God?
Cornelia struggles with this question throughout the novel. Some say that if you don’t love people in the way that they feel loved then you do not love them.
Life gets messy and complicated, but that doesn’t excuse us from the commands that Jesus gave. He said the two greatest commandments are to love God and then to love people. Jesus goes so far as to say that loving people is like loving God. So, how shall we love?
Jesus didn’t give us these commands only to leave us as orphans to live them out. He gave us His Holy Spirit to partner with us in this journey of learning how to love. God is love, and He will produce that fruit in our lives.
If, on our journey, we place the philosophy of our loved ones above God’s commands, we cannot be his disciple.
But if we place such a high value on God’s commands that we’re unfazed by the philosophy of man, we will be worthy disciples.
Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their mastiff. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.
The book, “How Shall We Then Love?” Is available here: http://www.amazon.com/How-Shall-We-Love-ebook/dp/B00B8VOHZ4
4 thoughts on “Guest Post by Precarious Yates: A Worthy Disciple and new release book “How Shall We Then Love?””
Hi Brad, I say that Jesus’ statement is hyperbolic in light of the other things he has said. For instance, when Jesus said razed the Pharisees for their “gifts are corbin” policy, He said it was because this was dishonoring to parents. Also, when asked to give His view of the greatest of all commandments, Jesus said the first and foremost was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and the second is LIKE UNTO IT: love your neighbor as yourself. But thanks for your thoughts. I do think His words here need to be taken more seriously than they are today. Our bond to the Lord needs to be thicker than blood.
I need to jump in here and say thanks for being on the blog, Precarious, and thanks for your comment, Brad. At the time I was posting yesterday I had some technical problems and I apologize that I didn’t make the observation that I also don’t think Jesus was using a hyperbole here. I’m not sure your response explained your position. Did you mean that because Jesus spoke of honoring parents that he didn’t mean we should be willing to forsake them for His sake?
We should be willing to forsake ALL THINGS for His sake.
Why I think this is hyperbole is from not only looking at this text in light of everything else Jesus said, but also the whole of scripture.
Jacob preferred Rachel far above Leah, and Genesis 29:31, as the KJV notes, the Lord saw that Leah was hated. She bore her husband 6 sons and a daughter. Did Jacob really HATE Leah, or did he just love her less?
In my twenties, I spent months studying the culture of the Middle East. They have very few words for middle ground feelings. Someone or something is never merely liked, they are loved or hated. One of my main sources for this is Kenneth Bailey, who wrote Poet and Peasant and Finding the Lost.
This is a great discussion! We should consider and reflect upon these things. Do we love those around us so much that we wouldn’t forsake them for the sake of the Gospel? How deep is our devotion to Christ? This devotion will be tested in many, many ways throughout our walk.
I’m glad y’all don’t agree with me (okay, a little Texan just slipped out there), since that gives all of us a chance to really consider the words of Jesus, who loved us so much that He gave His life for us, and calls us to do the same.
Hi, Precarious. I’m curious as why you think Jesus’ statement is hyperbolic. I don’t see any textual clues to indicate so; in fact, I would suggest that His language—and the context surrounding the verse—argue that He is being both serious and direct.
The book sounds interesting, though.