Did Jesus Really Teach His Disciples To Hate Their Families?

SharePinEmailOne passage from the Bible causes particular controversy every time it is mentioned by Christians and non-Christians alike. The quote accuses Jesus Christ of encouraging His disciples to hate their own families. Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and…

One passage from the Bible causes particular controversy every time it is mentioned by Christians and non-Christians alike. The quote accuses Jesus Christ of encouraging His disciples to hate their own families.

Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

But we cannot apply a modern, literal interpretation to this quote and should consider the intended context. Here’s everything you need to know as we debunk this misconstrued passage.

“Hate” Had a Different Meaning

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The original translation of Luke 14:26 uses the word “misei” which has been translated to “hate” in English. But the word “misei” does not mean “hate” in the way we think of hatred today. Instead, the definition of “misei” is “to convey a strong preference”. So, we can interpret Luke 14:26 as stating Jesus’ disciples must prefer or choose Him over their own families as the cost of discipleship and commitment.

“Hate” Is Used Elsewhere in the Bible

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The translation of the word “hate” is used elsewhere in the Bible, such as in Genesis 29:30-33. Here, there is a discussion about a man named Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, with the phrase “Leah was hated” being used. Of course, she was not hated in the modern, literal sense, but Jacob preferred Rachel instead.

The Nature of Discipleship

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Jesus Christ made clear to His disciples that they must show complete commitment to Him, emphasizing the exclusive and true nature of discipleship. This includes loving Him more than anyone or anything.

Matthew 10:37: “He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and he who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Putting God Before Everyone Else

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The requirement that love for God overpowers love for everyone else and everything else is present elsewhere in the Bible.

Luke 10:27: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

“Carry Your Cross”

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The commitment needed to follow Jesus Christ is further shown in Luke 14:27, emphasizing the sacrifice that Jesus needs from His disciples with the imagery of “carrying their cross”. He explains the requirement to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

Luke 14:27: “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Receiving Just Rewards

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By putting God before everyone else, Jesus promised His disciples eternal life.

Mark 10:29-30: “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age come to eternal life.”

Jesus Healed Peter’s Mother-in-Law

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We know that Jesus Christ showed love towards the families of His disciples. In Luke 4:38-39, He healed the mother-in-law of the apostle Peter from her high fever and restored her health.

“Love Your Wives”

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The apostle Paul teaches husbands to love their wives selflessly, following the model that Jesus Christ gave to them.

Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.

“Do Not Exasperate Your Children”

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The apostle Paul goes further to urge fathers to look after their children with the teachings and values of Jesus Christ. He told fathers never to treat their children harshly.

Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training  and the instruction of the Lord.

Jesus Teaches We Should Love Our Enemies

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Jesus Christ teaches you to love everyone, including loving your enemies. He never said we should hate our enemies in a literal sense, so it makes perfect sense that He would not mean that we must hate our families.

Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

“Honor Thy Father and Mother”

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Matthew 19:19 explains the need to honor your father and mother, loving them completely. There is no mention of hatred towards anyone but the requirement to love everyone.

“Love Your Neighbor”

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The second commandment is presented in Matthew 22:39: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Love is an ever-present notion that features throughout the New Testament of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Love One Another as I Have Loved You”

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Jesus Christ told His disciples to love one another in the way He has loved others.

John 13: 34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

The “Prince of Peace”

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Jesus Christ is referred to as a Messiah who will bring peace and salvation to the world.

Isaiah 9:6: “And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

What Texts Are Included in the Bible?

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Some non-Christians might not be aware that the Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament and the New Testament are integral to Christianity but were written at different periods of time.

The Old Testament

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The Old Testament comprises a series of texts and scriptures written many centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. The first five books make up the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. God is sometimes referred to as expressing anger in the Old Testament.

Numbers 25:3-4: “So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.

Abraham’s Willing Sacrifice

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We are reminded of God’s wrath several times in the Old Testament, such as in Genesis 22. Here, God instructs Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his son, and Abraham willingly prepares to do so. The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from hurting his son as he had shown he would put God before everything else.

The New Testament

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The New Testament is a separate division of the Bible and focuses on the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, God is portrayed as a loving God, and the teachings of Jesus Christ are concerned with love, hope, and salvation.

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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