He stopped them in their dirty, sandaled feet with that shocking statement.
Obviously, there is no half-heartedness, no neutrality, no middle ground, no lukewarmness, no fuzzy feelings in Jesus’ mind.
The praise chorus got it right: “Follow hard after Him.”
I once knew a professing Christian mother who lacked Jesus’ kind of “hatred.” All her waking hours were devoted to her 6-year-old son, with him, and for him. He dominated her conversation. She literally worshiped the ground he walked on.
I asked her one day,“ Don’t you think you give your son too much attention?”
Without hesitation she said, “Oh, no. He’s all I live for. He’s my life!”
That mother got it right. She correctly defined Jesus’ “hatred” command, but misapplied it.
Jesus is still turning to the crowds. He stopped my Floridian sandaled feet one day.
He said, “If you come to me, you must doggedly chase after me so that you cultivate such a passionate devotion for me that the attachment to everything else seems as “hatred,” a lesser love.” [Pippin’s paraphrase]