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Does Jesus Really Want Us to “Hate” our Family?

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Q: Does Jesus really ask us to hate our father, mother, wife, kids, brothers an sisters in order to follow him?

A:  There is a verse in the Bible that does sound like Jesus is saying that.  It is Luke 14:26.  But to really get at it, we must consider not only the context, but the original language in which the New Testament was written – Greek.  As well, we must follow our number one rule of Bible interpretation, and that is that Scripture must interpret Scripture.  It is doubtful that you could make the case that the rest of Scripture indicates that Jesus wants us to hate anyone, let alone our closest family.  So let’s consider the language of this verse:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, NIV)

The Greek word “misei” that is behind the English word which is here translated “hate,” brings up what I believe is an interesting situation that happens occasionally in New Testament Greek.  That is that just as we sometimes find it hard to put the right English translation on a Greek word … so did the GREEK have a hard time properly expressing the shade/nuance of a HEBREW word or expression!

What this means is that this word does typically mean “hate” – a strong hostility or detest – in the Greek.  But in the case of Luke 14:26, it is suggested that the writer was trying to express in Greek something that Christ would have likely said in Hebrew or Aramaic.  The way the Friberg Analytical Greek Lexicon (dictionary) denotes this is to show this second meaning for this Greek word:

“Hebraistically, requiring single-minded loyalty in discipleship prefer less, love less (LU 14.26)”

In other words, the editors recognize that it is possible that this Greek word was used to translate a Hebrew word or expression that had more-or-less the idea of loyalty… putting one thing in priority over the other – rather than disgust or hate.

Armed with this information, it’s interesting, because now when we go back to the English, it is easier to understand how even “hating oneself” is to be understood.  Because clearly, God doesn’t want us to “hate” ourselves.   To the contrary, He instructs us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves!  And He tells us that GOD loves us – even enough to send His Son to die for us.  Why would He want us to detest someone whom He loves enough to allow Jesus to die for?  No.  He loves those people, and us.  Therefore I believe this understanding of the word as simply one of priority/loyalty/preference is the best understanding.

Loving God, neighbor, AND family, 

Pastor Augie

 

Fire, Fathers, Family and Film …

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The month of June has a lot going on at Redeemer by the Sea:

Fire Relief. We are so thankful to God and to the quick and effective response of our firefighters and emergency workers! Much of the 600 acres that were burned in the “Poinsettia Fire” of May 14th was just a stone’s throw from Redeemer by the Sea. We had only a couple of small trees and a slight spot on our new fellowship patio canopy get burned from embers landing on our property, but it clearly could have been much worse! For many of our neighbors, however, it was worse.

Our congregation is in partnership with North Coast Calvary Chapel, Daybreak Church, and The Fields Church on a unified action team to work together as the Body of Christ in Carlsbad to provide relief to those who have incurred loss, or who are displaced from their homes for repairs and cleanup. There are an estimated 100 families with varying levels of fire, smoke, ash and water damage. Some families have complete loss of their home, or partial loss of home, furnishings and belongings. Through the action team and “family advocates” we will be providing support to as many affected families as possible.   A fund is being setup at Redeemer that will be directed to individuals, specific needs, or agencies associated with fire relief. We believe that we have been “spared to serve.”

Father’s Day and Patio Dedication! In the midst of recovering from the fires, Redeemer is taking time to celebrate! We will serve lunch on the new patio at Noon on Sunday June 15th to celebrate our fathers and the men of our congregation. We will also join in prayer to dedicate the new patio and shade structure for the glory of God and for the use of God’s people. There have been many hours of work put into the planning, design and construction of these facilities that we are just now beginning to enjoy. We look forward to many joyous gatherings on the new fellowship patio that God has blessed us with.

Family Ministry. It has been several months in process, but we are almost ready to extend a call. During the last half of May, we hosted our top three candidates for the position of Family Ministry Director. During those visits, the candidates enjoyed meeting with youth, adults and staff of the congregation in a variety of settings. On June 8th, the congregation will meet to discuss these candidates and pray. With God’s guidance we will extend a call to the candidate that we believe He has chosen for our congregation. Please be in prayer for the call service, as well as the call committee and the candidates. We are very excited that Redeemer is preparing to bring this new staff member on board and we are greatly anticipating the new and expanded ministry that they will enable.

Film. On June 15th we begin our “God on Film” summer movie sermon series. This year’s lineup will include some blockbuster movies as well as some movies from years ago. This year, happily, we have seen more Christian movies hitting the big screen. So this summer, we are excited to include four faith-based movies that you are sure to want to see. As always, the focus of each message is not the movie itself, but rather the discussions of God they prompt and the matters of faith they inspire. We believe you are going to be blessed by this summer’s God on Film! Also, will be giving a free movie ticket to first-time local visitors, so bring a friend!

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.” (Psalm 89:15-16)

In thanksgiving and praise,

Pastor Augie