"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his…wife and children…he cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:26).
Exclusivity often comes at the price of sounding harsh, until we understand the context.
Cancer treatments sound horrific, unless you have cancer.
Jesus says, “hate your wife and children.” Sounds bad, but understanding the context makes all the difference.
As one brother reminded me yesterday, there are no two words more misunderstood in the Bible than love and hate, e.g., "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:13, AV).
This is not a reflection of feelings or treatment. It reflects levels of dedication: supreme, and everything else.
As our Savior, Jesus has a right to claim our supreme dedication. He is our first priority (love), before everything - and everyone - else (hate).