By Keith Sharp
Why do you attend the church of which you are a member? Is it because your father and mother before you were members of that church? Is it because your husband or wife belongs to that particular religious body? What if Christ, through His Word, the New Testament, demanded one thing, and the church of your family said to do something else? Whom would you follow? Jesus declared: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 74:26). Does this mean I must literally despise the father who provided my needs when I was helpless and gave me the teaching and guidance to become a Christian? Must I turn against my mother who endangered her own life to bring me into this world and selflessly nursed and cared for me in childhood? Must I forsake my own wife who left a secure home to be my companion and bear my children? Must I loathe my little ones, any one of whom I would readily lay down my own life to protect? Must I hate my very own brother in the flesh who was my constant companion as a child? Of course the Bible demands the exact opposite attitude toward my own family. In fact, no son ever demonstrated greater love for his mother than did the Son of Mary, Who, while in the agony of impending death, made provision for the care of His mother after He was gone (John 19:26, 27).
What, then, is the meaning of this condition of discipleship? In Genesis 29:30 the inspired writer Moses observed of Jacob, “he loved also Rachel more than Leah.” Moses then declared, “the Lord saw that Leah was hated” (verse 31). Leah was “hated” in that she was loved less than was Rachel. This is precisely the sense in which we are to hate our families. As Jesus warned: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:3. When John F. Kennedy was running for President, he stated that his religion was a part of his family heritage and that he could no more give up Roman Catholicism than he could his Irish ancestry. But Jesus Christ warned that if you do not love Him more than you love father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, you cannot be His disciple. One proves his love for Christ by obeying Him (John 14:15). If you follow the religion of your family in disregard to the Word of Christ, you are not a disciple of Christ.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:20, p. 12
March 21, 1974