Words of Jesus misunderstood

To the editor:

A letter writer who said someone didn’t understand science revealed his own failure to understand the Bible (May 17). He said Jesus told us to hate family members, and he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword.

Jesus did say, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters … even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Jesus used those harsh words to convey a serious message about sacrifice, not malicious hatred. Notice verse 27-28:

“Whoever does not bear his own cross … cannot be my disciple. For which of you desiring to build a tower, does not first … count the cost …?”

Jesus, who loved all people and died for their sins, used the word “hate” (verse 26) in a figurative sense. He knew that being his disciple could put that person’s family at risk, so he defined it as hatred to emphasize that fact.

Jesus also said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10: 34).

Did Jesus, who said “Blessed are the peacemakers,” want us to be warmongers?

He was being realistic about conflicts in the families of his disciples and the sacrifices involved (verses 34-39).

Jesus was also predicting historical events. He knew false Christians would persecute and even kill true Christians mislabeled as “heretics.” He knew Christians would suffer at the hands of godless enemies. The book, “Tortured for Christ,” tells what Communists did to Christians in Romania after World War II.

Robert Kohtala