At first blush, it’s almost hard to believe that Jesus said to “let go” (and in some translations “hate”) our parents, spouses, kids and friends in order to follow Him. Don’t be confused — Jesus wasn’t telling you to cut these people out of your life in order to be a follower of Christ. Rather, this message was about rightly ordering relationships in your life. Make no mistake, the most important relationship must be with Christ. He tells the gathered crowd, not just his disciples, to put him first and warned them that they must be “all in” and following Him won’t be easy.
If you’ve ever heard someone refer to a “come to Jesus” moment — well this fits. Jesus is telling everyone that they can’t just fit Him in to their current lives wherever they have room. On Sundays when the kids don’t have soccer practice? No thanks. Christmas and Easter? Not gonna do it. Whenever you’re feeling down? He doesn’t want that kind of transnational relationship. He wants to be the center; the rock upon which your life is built and ordered.
You have a different kind of love for all of the people in your life. Love for your parents is different than the love you have for your kids. Same thing holds true for love for friends and spouse. These are all great but they cannot compare to the unique love that Jesus has for us. That love, agape love, is a giving love. It is a sacrificing and selfless love. It is love without a net. If you can accept that love into your life, it will enhance your ability to love everyone else in your life. It will also help to free you from the aspects of those relationships that tend to take your focus away from Christ.