Saturday, April 5, 2008

Blind Devotion and Faith (Luke 14:26)

Anonymous posted this provocative question:
There was a story in the news this week about the presidential candidates attending a prayer group. In it, they mention this verse: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

This kind of commitment was compared to the blind devotion given to Hitler. Blind devotion and faith aren't the same thing, are they? What did Jesus mean by this verse? And (real life question...) what happens when loving God & loving our families seem to come in conflict? Who is supposed to "understand" why they can't have my full devotion or attention? Thanks so much for the blog, Gary!
Looks like there are at least three questions to tackle here: 1) What did Jesus mean in Luke 14:26? 2) What is the difference between blind (dangerous) devotion and faith? 3) What do we do when loyalties to God and family conflict?

Now is where you come in. Post your thoughts on any or all of the questions.

3 comments:

  1. 1) I think Jesus was using hyperbole or extreme language to make a point about how much we should love him relative to the love we have for our family.
    2) I think that faith, when referring to the Christian, should be evidence-based. Blind devotion can be dangerous because it means the person has not at all scrutinized that which they are devoted to.
    Cynic Note: I think many people, even Christian people have a "blind (dangerous) devotion" to Oprah Winfrey.
    3) I think that loyalty to God is always the way to go. Sometimes going with God may seem disloyal to your family. Jesus said he came to send a sword (Mt 10:34). I mean, I think we are called to reflect the loving kindness of the LORD but true love can only be expressed when inline with the will of the one who IS love.

    Keoki

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  2. Thanks for the comments! I agree that part of Jesus' point was comparative love. But I also see that Jesus gave this saying in the context of teaching about persecution. He was talking about what to do when a family rejects a Christian because of his or her faith.

    You're right - our faith should be evidence-based. In this passage, Jesus was really talking more about issues of loyalty than about belief.

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  3. I found the explanation helpful from the Bible Encyclopedia "Insight on the Scriptures". Check it out below.
    Aloha!
    Nick
    nickhawaii@gmail.com

    In the Scriptures the word “hate” has several shades of meaning. It may denote intense hostility, sustained ill will often accompanied by malice. Such hate may become a consuming emotion seeking to bring harm to its object. “Hate” may also signify a strong dislike but without any intent to bring harm to the object, seeking instead to avoid it because of a feeling of loathing toward it. The Bible also employs the word “hate” to mean loving to a lesser degree. (Ge 29:31, 33; De 21:15, 16) For example, Jesus Christ said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own soul, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lu 14:26) Obviously Jesus did not mean that his followers were to feel hostility or loathing toward their families and toward themselves, as this would not be in agreement with the rest of the Scriptures.—Compare Mr 12:29-31; Eph 5:28, 29, 33.

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