"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Lk 14:26
There are many "hard" sayings of Jesus, but none more difficult to grasp than his talk about hating father, mother, wife and children. What could this possibly mean? The prophet Micah gives us an indication and an insight.
Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies are the members of his own household. (Micah 7:5-6)The Messianic age, about both Micah and Jesus are speaking, will be ushered in by dissension, and traditional social networks like families will be broken apart because they fail to listen to God and change their lives. Though difficult to accept, the answer is simple, even transparent. Because the people of Jesus' day refused to listen to John the Baptist or him, they will hasten their own downfall, and the same warning prevails today.
Not unlike the warning on a package of cigarettes that if you keep smoking you risk cancer, Jesus, the prophet of God, another Micah, makes it clear that unless we open ourselves to the fullness of his message, we hasten our own demise.
Today, ask God how to live the fullness of the Gospel.
How do you interpret Jesus' hard sayings?