The Evangelical Universalist Forum

To follow Jesus, we must hate all our relatives and life itself! (Luke 14:26)

In Luke 14:26, Jesus tells us that to be His disciple requires hating our relatives and life itself. Since a literal reading is disturbing and conflicts with other Bible passages, how can we interpret this verse? In light of the overall picture of God perfectly revealed to us through Jesus in the gospels, we can be led to a new understanding in which relationships are being redefined by Christ’s claim on us.

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How did your Pastor preach on Luke 14:25-33 (if that was your sermon text yesterday)?

For one to truly follow jesus I think they would have to be suicidal or on the edge of death putting one self at great risks. If one were to sell everything they have and give it to the poor one would end up homeless which is very risky because you can get killed easily. Being pacifistic also shows to others that you are weak and they will often take great offense to this and target you more. Imagine a kid in middle school who was a pacifist towards his bullies, he would be targeted even harder by his bullies and probably killed.

To be pacifistic is not helpful to bullies. In junior high, I was bullied by an older boy. The bully had a sidekick whom he wanted to impress. The day came when I “lost it” and hit back, hard and often. I was never bullied again. I believe he had second thoughts before attempting to bully anyone again.

“selling everything to give to the poor” was the solution Jesus gave to one specific person… if that one person wanted to attain aionios life.

Yet it appears you think Jesus would have applied “sell all and follow me” to everyone?

If you need a counterexample, you can look at Mark 5, particularly verse 19. Jesus sent a man home to his family, rather than requiring or allowing him to follow him.


I can understand why you did it but it does rather fly in the face of turning the other cheek.

“To the best of your ability, live at peace with all men.”

Good for you Norm! You accomplished a number of things: kept yourself safe, showed the bully the error of his ways and deterred him from too easily picking on and hurting other vulnerable kids, gave a lesson to onlookers that bullying does not always pay off, gained some self respect and self reliance. Well done.

Only your interpretation of turning the other cheek. Many posit the culture of turning the other cheek was to shame the one who struck you.

Curious why people interpret Jesus “resist not an evil person” is only applicable to physical resistance. I see nowhere implied that this radical call of mamby pambys is only talking about physical resistance.

Yes, at my work my boss once asked me why I was resisting him. Clearly, resist is not merely physical as I never touched my boss.

For that matter, Paidion’s and others here sniping at Trump sure seems like resisting. And, how do we define an evil person? Is everyone evil? Can I resist a good man?

Too many non-sensical and hypocritical positions by the pacifists. You are free to be one, but you are stopping short of the mandate you believe in… But ahh, of course, they decided just how they interpret the scripture, and yet accuse others of the same!

Live and let live and quit pretending you have some moral high ground. We all interpret scripture the way we interpret it. Motives have little to do with it. Life experience has everything to do with it.

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To get back to the topic—virtually all the commentators say that “hate” in this context is not hate proper, but compared with our love for Christ, it would be “hate,” that is, it means “to love less.”

For in Matthew 15, Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for not honouring their parents with financial support. That certainly wouldn’t be done if they were hated.

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
3 He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”
6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.


I’d think a reason that many don’t interpret Jesus as calling for non-resistance to evil in every mamby pamby form, is that he himself often did resist evil, short of bodily attack upon others, and sometimes dramatically… I noted earlier that even when he was literally struck on the cheek, he chose the form of shaming by calling the offender out, rather than literally turning his cheek.

But it’s harder to document that Jesus equally modeled inflicting bodily harm on others, and of course the pacifist interpretation of Jesus rests on the whole portrait, not this one verse.

E.g. I think it’s correct that a dominant expectation of Israel was that Jews should and would physically defend themselves from those who harmed and oppressed them, that this was their historic pattern under God, and that even seeing Messiah as a “son of David” was a reminder that God’s historic method expected the prowess of much bloodshed to deliver Israel from her enemies.

Then alone, Jesus’ apparent rejection of this whole motif, and against the background of the latest empire to torment them, provocatively instead commanding: love the enemy, would suggest that Jesus may have challenged O.T. assumptions that God’s people should employ violent and lethal resistance even toward those who abused and crucified many fellow Jews.

This is such a shallow and superficial view of emotional abuse. To elevate physical abuse above emotional abuse is shallow, short sighted and gravely mistaken. A harsh word can carry long lasting pain, all the way until death. A strike on the cheek can easily be forgotten.

When Jesus said cruel things to people (and he did), it is somehow viewed as OK. We can destroy a persons self confident, their emotional stability with harsh words, but the minute we lay a finger on them, harm occurs? That is laughable and you know it!

Now, you may not hold these views and you might even suggest I am stawmaning (I don’t see how, ask anyone who was called “fat” and made “fun of” and the lasting and hurting impressions that memory has - In other words, WORDS HURT!" But that is for you to decide. If you want to suggest that words do not hurt, and that Jesus did not say any harsh words to people… Well, shrug I guess we will have to heavily disagree. You might say that the people deserved those harsh words - Nonsense, that is just as nonsense as the position that someone deserve a punch in the face. Our argument for physical assault is that it “hurts”… Well, so do words, names, etc… Provide me with something better than “Jesus seems to…” demonstrate to me why physical harm is far worse than emotional harm and why one is an acceptable means of assault and not the other.

To follow this up further: Because the body is temporal and the soul remains to pass on (and so it is believed by most people here), one should easily be able to argue that physical assault/defense has only temporary implications (they will get a new body!) but the emotional assault/defense is, in theory, eternal. The scars and damage of a body will be gone when it is replaced. But the soul? That is eternal.

A fight on a playground ends with the kids often hugging or a mutual respect, but a cruel word can carry on into adulthood, even if the cruel word is true, that doesn’t make it any less damaging.

Wow, I didn’t think that I’d even argued for affirming “emotional abuse.” I thought I was only answering your question as to why some interpret Jesus as actually opposed to resistance that involves lethal physicality, and offering the narrative’s evidence on that.

I certainly agree that emotional harm is often far more injurious than physical harm. And I share being troubled by some of Jesus’ strong name calling rhetoric toward religionists (and also the tortuous violence in some of his parables).

Did you think I thought that I’d “demonstrated that physical harm is far worse than emotional harm”?

No, but here is what I think (and, I am serious, correct me if I am wrong). I think you are creating an argument from silence, that because Jesus, A) Resisted Evil in some forms and, B) did not ever resist it in physical form (argument of silence) is trying to lay the ground work for a clear cut case of pacifism, yet while distancing oneself from actually committing to it by saying “Well, I didn’t say it, Jesus did…” Well, yes and no, you are framing it in such a way to speak for Jesus and while that is totally acceptable to do, in fact, we ought to provide reasons, I think it would be better if you could, yourself, come up with YOUR position on the matter. You do seem to create a lot of distance from what you actually believe and while that is very academic, it lacks any true sense of discussion. If this were merely an academic board that wants to explore possibilities - I’d love that! But that isn’t really what is going on here… We seem to have a bunch of commission and omission. Lest you think I am calling you out, be assured that I am not. I full well acknowledge my limitations, my misunderstanding of yours’ and others positions, not to mention my sometimes not well thought out arguments.

As I have said in other threads, it isn’t so much the idea of “what could it have meant” where I start to react, it is more on the “Well, it seems clear based on this and that”… And, to be honest, I am guilty of that too. So, I guess the finger I am pointing at others here has three more pointing back at me. We all have a bunch of life experience that tends to put us in the right. I also tend to forget that we are all here just throwing our own ideas around, nothing more - There is no harm in you believing in the pacifist way, if you so chose, so why should I be passionate against it? I really shouldn’t. I guess I find it interesting that a topic I don’t particular care about can grip me. I don’t know why, either. Maybe because part of me sees this: A pacifist hiding behind his freedom, because someone else fought for it. That might be why I react the way I do. If someone is a pacifist in a country that is in civil war, I’d have sooooooo much more respect for them. But someone sitting here in Merica, or Canadia! (Yes, purposely misspelled both!) telling people the moral high ground that pacifists have, seems really, really disingenuous not to mention when Paidion drops in these threads and says “Well you don’t believe what the Lord says?” only adds to that perceived hypocrisy and moral arrogance.

Well, all present arguments aside, there was NO passivity with Jesus here…

Jn 2:13-17 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

Pity-help anyone in the way of Jesus’ flailing whip!

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Apparently, “Fits of Rage” (Galatians - sins of the flesh) as a sin, doesn’t apply to Jesus!

Gabe, It feels loaded, and you may be reading a lot into what I did not say (or, you may accurately dislike my outlook). You asked how people exegete the Sermon on the Mount as opposing physical assault. I answered that, and you respond that you wanted to know my own beliefs on pacifism. What do you want to know?

I’ve often detailed my views on it here. I was not silently implying “a clear cut case for pacifism,” since I’m not convinced non-violence is always best. I’ve often said here that I might kill someone attacking innocent loved ones as quickly as anyone else. And I’ve often said that I’m a non-fundamentalist not bound by a given text, and further am unsure that Jesus was even addressing modern questions about pacifism. He certainly wasn’t passive about directly challenging evils that he saw.

OTOH, to your apparent consternation, I think Jesus provokes a good challenge within me, and did offer challenges to our assumptions about reliance on violent solutions, and that the Anabaptist reading of him gets too easily dismissed in favor of a more Rambo Jesus, when the challenge he brings in his historical setting could lead to worthy discussion about our present day challenges. Thus, with little training other than the Biblical narrative, I weigh in when I think such texts are wrongly exegeted.

The fact that I see most of those I taught being extremely militaristic and not challenged by what Jesus appears to present, may leave me feeling a burden to emphasize the kind of challenge I think his words desirably bring. And you may prefer me to present a more black and white position, or be frustrated when you see clues that I am in the middle zone of gray, but at present that is honestly my own outlook.

I may be too comfortable living with the tensions I see. But what further clarity can I add?

None, you have provided enough clarity with this post. Thanks.

I suspect that expressing the displeasure of God, as he saw it, such as he did would be assumed along such lines as…

Eph 4:25-26 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

Such anger then would be a case of righteous indignation.

Are we certain that it was Anger? Let alone a fit of rage? I don’t think it is clear enough a case that we can fling that accusation. And why speculate that the whip was flailing? How do you know that?

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