Transforming Power

Dear Hate Group,
 
In Luke 14:25-26 , Jesus offers up some interesting teachings to say the least.
 
In verse 25 Jesus draws giant crowds. Dr William Willimon says, “Jesus had become a tourist attraction.” After doing some miracles and incredible teaching, everybody wanted to be near him.
 
Next, comes one of scriptures most troubling verses Luke 14:26. Jesus says ,” Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” Those are some very strong words. My Mom taught me to never  use the word “hate,” and Jesus is using it in this text very liberally?  Why would Jesus tell us to “hate”? Are the followers of Jesus called to be a hate group?
 
Scholars such as Dr. William Willimon and Dr. Fred Danker say that the word “hate” as Jesus is using it , is different from how we normally hear the word hate used in our culture.  Jesus is talking in hyperbole. There is a bit of exaggeration in play here to make a point. The meaning of the word in the original Greek is ,”to detach , and to reorient yourself with a new primary allegiance”. Jesus is not telling us to turn away completely from those we love. Rather Christ is telling us to remember following him is the primary relationship we are called into. Prioritizing Jesus  transforms all other relationships.
 
The actor Gene Wilder was a childhood hero of mine. I did not think humor could get any better than Wilder and Mel Brooks teaming up in such classics as “Young Frankenstein" and “Blazing Saddles.” Wilder died last Sunday , August 28th , 2016.  Yesterday’s Denver Post has an interesting quote regarding Wilder's relationship to his mother. “ As a  boy, Wilder was warned by a doctor that if he directed anger toward his emotionally fragile mother , it might kill her. He spent hours trying to make her laugh, and from there he developed an interest in the theater”. Gene Wilder's mother was flawed. Yet as a  parent she made an impact on her child through her imperfections and as well her strengths.
 
The only power able to transform the negative shortcomings of another in our life and transform them into positives is Christ Jesus. The reality is we are blessed with people for better or worse from the first breathe we take.  The good news of the gospel is that Jesus' love beacons us to follow him, superseding all other relationships. For only Christ can pick up the pieces of our mutual brokenness and use it for his purposes. Gene Wilder took the fact of having a fragile mother and used it to become a comic genius.
 
We all carry a cross from a broken relationship. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable before Christ the broken pieces can become masterpieces of art.
 
Still in One Peace,
 
Pastor David J. Jensen

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