However, the Bible tells us to love others: for instance, Leviticus 19:17, 18; and I John 3:15; 4:20-21.
In Luke 14:26, Jesus is using “hate” in a relative sense and to make a powerful point. Compared to our love for God, the love we have for our family is “hate” by comparison, though we obviously still love them.
For instance, imagine that God called you to be a missionary to a faraway land. You may love your parents, brothers, and sisters very much; you may love yourself and would like to be comfortable right where you are. However, your love for God is so much stronger that you will leave your parents, brothers, sisters, and your comfortable life where you are, and take your family to a mission field on the other side of the world. Yes, you love your parents, brothers, and sisters—but you love God so much more that it almost seems as though you “hate” your family, because you are leaving them. Being a missionary is just an example—but the concept of putting God first applies to whatever God calls you to do.
As an aside, the verse is not teaching that we should leave our wife and children to serve God: the Bible clearly states that those who do not take care of their own households are worse than infidels (I Timothy 5:8). However, even if a man’s wife and children disapprove of what God wants them all to do, a man must lead his family together where God wants them all.
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