On Hating Life

“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
In my last book, I looked at love and hate at depth, from a new perspective.  With those definitions in mind, what does this verse mean? Simply that we prefer the love of God and truth of Christ to that of anything else, even our own families. If you are perfectly in love with the life you have, why would you be willing to walk with Jesus?

If right now is the pinnacle of your existence, why would you look forward? 

It’s really just about comparing love. If I love my life more than I love Jesus, I will simply keep doing what I am doing. But if I start choosing the will of God over my own, if God’s will is the main priority in my life, and my eyes are forward, looking toward eternity, I hate this life. Because I value what is next more than I value what is now.

Clearly we are being called to put our stock in the next world. 

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25
It’s really simple. If God exists, and the Bible is true, heaven is real. And if heaven is real, and you are going, you prefer that world to this world. Therefore, you hate this world. And your existence in this world is your life.

As long as you believe that heaven exists, and you are saved, why would you not prefer that world to this one? And once you do, do you not hate your life? 

Orienting Your Soul

You can’t love everything: because not everything is good. So when we start to love things that aren’t good, we disorient our souls.

If you loved everything equally, why would you care what you did next? How would you decide what to do? If all paths were equal, you would just take the path of least resistance. 

But all paths aren’t equal. There is clearly black and white, right and wrong.

If our goal is to love God better, and spend more time with him, the best way to orient our souls is to align our values with his. To love what he loves, and hate what he hates.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9

So if we begin to do the same, and choose realties and make decisions based on this guidance, we can be with him more.

The closer we get to understanding the right and wrong that’s established for us in his Word, the better we can orient ourselves with his values. And the better we orient ourselves with his values, the better decisions we can make. And the better decisions we make, the more tightly we can follow the path that he’s set before us.

The Magic of Forgiveness

If love is where life happens and where God is, forgiveness is our way to change our hate into dislike, and bring people and events from the darkness into the light.

For instance, if someone wronged you in some terrible way, you may hate them. They have moved a portion of your reality into darkness. If you can manage to separate the wrong from the soul, and forgive it, you can make meaningful progress in moving into a reality where you can love God better.

For a traumatic event, you may hate someone or a portion of yourself. You may hate the portion of you that allowed it to happen, or the portion of them that committed the crime. Learning to forgive myself has been a huge challenge. And if I have done the wrong, I am the one that has ventured out of the light into the darkness. The only way back in is self-forgiveness.

The difference between a grudge and forgiveness is the difference between hate and dislike.

The only difference between hate and dislike is tolerance. If you dislike something, you accept that you will have to endure it. When you hate it, you are actively looking for ways to avoid it. Forgiveness is the magic that helps us move things from hate to dislike.

But we need reasons to forgive. If your believe system doesn’t provide these, you need to keep looking. In Christianity, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So we forgive.

It’s also important for our mental health. Imagine, for instance, that you hate firearms. Realities with firearms scare you. Therefore, to avoid all future realities with firearms in them, you have to really think ahead. But no matter how much planning you do, you’ll likely have another encounter with a firearm, and you’ll hate it. So maybe you seclude yourself. If you never exit your home, you’ll never have to encounter another firearm, or the fear that you’ve associated with it. But you see, your freedom from fear has become a freedom from freedom. 

Obviously you can’t forgive a gun. The next step would be determine the real source. Maybe it was military,  the death of a loved one, or any number of other things. Whatever it was, it can be identified. You don’t hate guns. You hate what someone did with one. If you can piece apart the person and object from the crime, you can begin to forgive, and start moving forward. 

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:13

 

Defining Love

Preliminary Reading (optional): Time is like a tree, Reality, Truth, and Faith, Expecting Unhappiness, I am an Addict

Love is when you can’t imagine a future reality without someone or something. When all your future realities involve this someone, you love them.

 …for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part… 

This involves a range of potential future scenarios. But it’s a really wide range. Essentially, no matter the situation, we are together.

By default, you love yourself, because all of your future realities include you. If you don’t love yourself, you need to learn to, because there is literally no escaping it. Love is different than expectations, because love is something that you can take with you everywhere. So while you may be addicted to it, the fact that it is optional makes it a choice. And a habit rather than a chore.

And God is love. If God is love, God is literally not imagining a future reality without us. The fact that God is love is literally a promise to be with us. And Immanuel, is fulfillment of that promise.

Hate is the opposite of love. The ability to imagine a reality without someone or something. And loving that reality. So if God is love, the absence of God is hate.