Did Jesus Really Teach His Disciples To Hate Their Families? - Grunge

Many people argue that Jesus’ command to hate others was simply a piece of hyperbole and that taking it literally is acting in bad faith. One early version of this interpretation comes from the church father Cyril of Alexandria. In his Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Sermon CV, in which he wrote that Jesus didn’t really mean it when he told his followers to hate others — he just meant that they should love him above all else.

Cyril wrote, “For He demands for Himself our chief affection; and that very justly: for the love of God in those who are perfect in mind has something in it superior both to the honour due to parents, and to the natural affection felt for children.” This line of thought is a popular one and it’s easy to see why. Jesus talks about love so many times in the New Testament a command to hate others seems out of place.

Furthermore loving them in that order — with Jesus/God coming first — seems to be reiterated in one of the other Gospels, Matthew 22:37. When Jesus is asked what God’s greatest commandment is he responds “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” God is priority number one — no matter how much you love your mom.