Love Jesus, THEN Love Your Family

In yesterday’s message, I shared Luke 14:26. This is a much misunderstood a misquoted verse. In this verse, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not have his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, and even his own life - he cannot be My disciple.”

WAIT! Did Jesus just tell us to hate our family and even our very lives?

Not exactly.

A little background

In this passage, Jesus is traveling and a crowd of people is following Him. Among those people are some who want to be Jesus’ disciples. However, these have not truly considered what it means, or what it costs to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus turns to them and starts with the words we read above. He chooses strong words in order to get their attention. He wanted to make sure that the people following Him knew what it meant to be His disciple. He wanted to understand the level of commitment required.

Kinda like nursing school

I remember when I first started nursing school. This was over 20 years ago, but I remember the speech given by the then director of the nursing school. She said that we needed to kiss our families goodbye and tell them that we would see them again when we were done with nursing school. At the time I was married. She was not saying that I should literally go home that night and kiss my wife goodbye and not see her until I graduated. We lived in the same house. It would have been really hard to not see each other.

What she was trying to communicate was that nursing school was hard and required a high level of commitment. Nursing school was going to demand a lot of your time. So, it was going to be AS IF you had kissed your family goodbye and would get back together with them when you were done.

THIS is what Jesus was doing. He did not literally mean that you had to hate your family. The Bible is very clear that we are to love our parents, our children, and our spouses. In fact, Paul goes so far as to say that husbands should show the same sort of sacrificial love that Jesus did for the church. Jesus, Himself, said that we should “love our neighbor as ourselves.” He said this was second only to loving God. “Love your neighbor includes our family.

Love Jesus

What Jesus was saying was that our first priority needs to be loving Jesus. Sadly, we can put our love for our families above our love for Jesus. When we do this, we unintentionally turn them into idols. This happens a lot with parents towards their children. Their children become their primary focus, even to the detriment of their relationship with Jesus, and sometimes with their spouse. The Bible clearly tells us to love everyone, especially our families. BUT, we need to place our biggest priority on loving Jesus.

Love Your Family

As I pointed out earlier, the Bible clearly tells us to love our families. It can sting a little bit to think that we might have to put our families second to Jesus. I love my wife and kids dearly. It’s hard to think that I could love anybody more than I love them.

BUT, there’s good news.

The good news is that the more we love Jesus, the better we will love our families. The more we love Jesus and the more we seek to be like Jesus the easier it will be to love our family.

Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things our to the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Want to love your family better, learn to love Jesus more. Want to speak loving words to your family, fill your heart with love. Jesus is the ultimate source of love. Want to treat your spouse with love and respect, learn to love Jesus better and the storeroom of your heart will be filled with good things. These good things will spill out into the way you treat and talk to your family.

So, if you want to be a disciple of Jesus, love Jesus. Love Him even more than you love your family. This may be hard to think of and hard to do, but the end result is actually that you will love your family better as a result.