Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Some decisions cost a lot. The person who lives a Christian life has committed to laying down his own life, wit hall its concerns, all its priorities, all its relationships, so as to take up a life committed to Christ and His priorities. Our Gospel reading from Luke 14:25-35 illustrates this lifestyle using the harsh terminology of hating those we formerly loved, including ourselves.
Does Jesus here really tell us to hate our family members? Yes and no. He speaks many times about our need to love others. This surely includes our family and friends. But in comparison to Christ and His kingdom, our old relationships may not hold power over us. They cannot govern our attitudes or our behavior. Love for my family does not compel my actions, but love for my Savior does.
In the end, our responses may well look the same. If I love my parents, my friends, my wife and children, I will care for them. Because Jesus loves these same people, I will care for them also. But what if my family members, offended by my Christian commitment, disown me, shun me, treat me as if dead? This happens in many places in the world. What is my response? I choose to hate their rejection, because it is really a rejection of Christ, and I seek ways to love them, pray for them, and care for their good. This is Jesus at work.
The Christian, then, lays down his life because of Jesus’ love, realizing that Jesus hated our sin enough to lay down his life for us. We do the same for others, even when they don’t appreciate it. This is the essence of living as salt and light in our world.
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