Let us pray: Dear Savior, we know that You must always come first in our lives. We know that nothing and no one can ever compare with You. We know that without You we are lost, forlorn, desolate human beings who have no hope for a better tomorrow. Today we ask that You reenergize us so that we truly do put You first in all we think, say, and do. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO IS WITHOUT COMPARE!
TEXT: Luke 14: 25-33
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Until about 25 years ago, people never talked about “hate speech.” Now, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t such a thing. We simply had more descriptive terms with which to label it.—We called people who harangued on an issue to foster ill-will, we called them a “nut” or a “crank.” Sometimes we labeled them as “uninformed and stupid.” Occasionally, if they were extremely blatant and offensive, we even called what they said: evil.
As a child we would sometimes throw around the word “hate” when we were upset. “I hate that outfit and I’m not wearing it to school!” Or, when big sister was particularly nasty about something, we’d hurl out those words: “I hate you!” just before we ran in the opposite direction! Of course, we really didn’t “hate” them in the sense that we wanted evil to rain down upon their head. In our hearts we still loved and cared about each other. It’s just that the word “hate” was used much more loosely.
I suppose the term “hate speech” came into vogue in an attempt to more properly define unacceptable speech. And the result has been the ultimate label branding of people with whom you disagree. Just use the word “hate” in conversation and people immediately stiffen. You cannot even say something like: “Don’t you just hate it when that happens” without people looking sideways at you! I guess I’m a dinosaur. For even though we would throw around the word “hate” in those “olden days” people were much more civil.
As I looked at this text, I was struck by Christ’s use of the word “hate.” And I wondered: how do people today relate to and regard this very pointed lesson? So, I did a word search of the Greek word “miseo” translated here as “hate.” It means: to hate, despise, disregard, or be indifferent to.” Obviously Jesus knew that. He knew it was a strong word. And yet He still uses it. What’s He trying to teach us? Well, today we’ll find out as we ponder this question:
IS JESUS GUILTY OF “HATE” SPEECH?
Remember when Christ talked about “a house that is divided against itself cannot stand”? His point there was that a household, a family unit, that is quarrelsome cannot and will not be united. Its atmosphere is poisonous. And then He compares that attitude to the visible church.—Christians who cannot treat each other civilly and don’t agree on the basics of the faith can never walk as one.
As individual Christians the most important Person we can ever walk together with is: Jesus Christ. All true unity of purpose, of direction, and of meaning to our lives begins and ends with Jesus. That’s because Jesus is the eternal Son of God. He’s the One Who laid His life on the line to purchase our souls from sin, Satan, death, and evil. He died, taking all that evil baggage with Him to the cross. And then He arose to a new life. A pure life. A life in which His love for our souls could be applied to us literally forever. Moreover, all this shiny newness and oneness with Him is made our possession through His imparting of faith into our hearts.
As God’s all-knowing Son, Jesus could read hearts. He knew human nature better than we humans do. So, to get people to really examine their allegiance to Him, He poses His question about it in the most graphic of terms.—“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Certainly those words are jarring—especially to our modern ears. They are an “all or nothing” proposition, aren’t they? But, isn’t that the point? Isn’t true allegiance to God’s Son an “all or nothing” proposition? Isn’t He supposed to be more important to us than our closest relatives? Isn’t He more vital to us than our own earthly existence? After all, doesn’t He now own our lives? Aren’t we totally under the umbrella of His grace-filled control? And isn’t discipleship the willingness and the celebration of that fact?
Still, our modern ears have been conditioned to shy away from that word “hate.” And even our faithful study of Scripture has told us we’re not to allow hatred into our hearts. After all, doesn’t Jesus tell us: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer?” Yes, that’s all true. But, His point of comparison here isn’t about mere human relationships. It is really about our timeless relationship with God Almighty. Nothing dare divide our loyalties to Him. Nothing dare come between our Savior’s love for our souls and our faith-filled souls. And if and when we are tempted to allow such a thing to occur, we need to recognize it and literally “hate” it. For separating a Christian from his or her Savior is downright evil….
The next two paragraphs of this lesson both focus on how we must continually “count this cost” of our discipleship. The first deals with a foolish builder who cannot complete his tower because he runs out of money. As a result he turns into a laughingstock. The second deals with a headstrong king who wants to build a name for himself by going to war against an enemy. But then, when it is obvious his enemy will crush him, that king swallows his pride and sues for peace to avoid destruction. Again, the point is: always count the cost of what you’re about to do. “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Historically, what’s the most hated position any human being can ever find themselves in? Isn’t it slavery? And what sane human being would ever willingly submit to complete slavery? That’s right, none. So, when Christ says: “Any of you who does not give up everything cannot be my disciple” isn’t that whole concept repulsive to our nature? Of course it is! So, why would we ever do so? Simply because God’s own Son became a slave to us in order to save us from the slavery of sin. He became the ultimate object of human hatred in order to have that hatred shifted from us to Him.
So, back to our original question: Is Jesus Guilty of Hate Speech? Well, the answer is: Yes He is! But His guilt all stems from His love toward lost, double-minded sinners like us. So, learn to hate your sinful side. Learn to hate evil when it knocks at the door of your heart no matter the form it may take. For it is only then that His forgiving love will find a place to rest within you. Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox