Question: What are your thoughts on Exodus 20:12, "Honour thy father and thy mother," and Luke 14:26,
"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."?
Answer: The word "hate" is a comparative word in the Greek, and not an absolute word. The tender love we have for our father, mother and loved ones is like hatred as compared to the love we should have for our Savior.
A Christian may have unsaved relatives who are opposed to, and try to interfere, with your service to the Lord. They do not want you to witness, saying, "You shouldn’t try to shove your beliefs on someone else." They schedule a family reunion on Sunday, and hate it when you don’t come until after church.
Years ago, when I told my father I was going to Bible college, he became very upset. I had a good job at that time, three small children, and a beautiful home in the country. My dad, whom I loved very much, thought I had "gone off the deep end." I hated to hear the things he said to me; but, I loved him and knew that he was not a mature Christian.
As a Christian, you hate to have relatives tell you not to mention Christ when you are in their home. Yes, you hate the fact they get mad when you will not let them drink alcohol in your home, because they do not respect you. Yes, you hate anything that seems to hinder you from serving the Lord or ruin your testimony!
Sometimes the hardest persecution comes from relatives. Yes, we hate their actions; but, we do not hate them. Why? Because we realize they are not saved or, if a Christian, they have not matured enough to recognize that putting Christ first is where real happiness is found.
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." (Psalm 118:8)