Spiritual Practice


Zachary Wengerd, 17

“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.”
Luke 14:26 (NIV)

Jesus said some pretty tough stuff, but the most difficult thing he said, in my opinion, is to hate our family and ourself. In light of his commandment to love one another, this saying seems strange, unsettling, abnormal, and downright contradictory.


For quite a while, I struggled with what Jesus actually meant. Instead of directing us to hate our families and ourselves, I believe Jesus was telling us to love him more than anyone in the world, including those dearest to us. In truth, following this difficult teaching enables us to love others more sincerely. If we love Jesus more than anything and follow him, our love for other people will only grow. Many people misplace their love, putting themselves or another person first in their heart. But if we love Jesus first and foremost, our other relationships will fall into place.


WRESTLE WITH THE SCRIPTURE: What are your thoughts about this scripture passage? What do you find troubling? freeing? What irony do you see? Journal about your questions and reflections.

—from devozine (January/February 2013). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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