“If a man comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
I hate my life. I hate not being perfect. I’m tired of not having it all figured out. I’m tired of dealing with my issues, physical, emotional and otherwise. I’m tired of feeling like Dobby the House Elf. (I just lost some of you; if you don’t understand the reference go find a Harry Potter fan. They’ll be more than happy to explain it to you) I’m tired of every day being a struggle (well, maybe not every day). I hate not being able to do what I once could.
I can deal with this one of several ways. I can kick and scream about it, similar to Dylan Thomas’ “do not go gently into that good night” (forgive me if the quote or the context is wrong). I can mope about it and engage in an extended pity party. I can beat myself up over my shortcomings. Or I can own up to the fact that it’s true.
We are broken people living in a broken world. We’re spoon-fed the lie if we can just do more, be more, accumulate more then we will be complete. We only lack one thing which will make us the amazing people we can be. The one thing is usually whatever the commercial is wanting you to buy. The great lie is we can be self-sufficient.
But most of us know only too well we don’t measure up, and no matter how hard we try never will. So we buy into lie #2 that we’re just fine the way we are and the world is just going to have to deal with it. This may be accompanied by the thought, “this is the way God made me”, which justifies our belief we’re just fine, thank you very much, and you have no right to judge me.
Until we come to the realization we are most definitely broken, we are incapable of fixing it ourselves, and we’re tired of it and don’t want to live like this anymore, we’ll always fall into the trap of thinking, “If I just do this, I can fix this.” But broken things are incapable of fixing themselves- they’re broken. It’s only when we’ve run out of false hope that God can finally do something with us.
God doesn’t create us broken, but he can take our brokenness and make it into something whole, something useful for his purposes, something that glorifies him. But as long as we insist on hanging on to the pieces or dictating what we think God needs to make of us, God can do nothing with us. It’s only when we give up on trying to be in control that he can go to work.
That’s why Jesus laid out his conditions for discipleship the way he did. Until we arrive at the place where we “hate” our life, the place where we’re painfully aware of how broken we are and have no way to fix it, Jesus cannot be our Lord and begin the process of putting us together in the way we were meant to be. Until our love for him makes all of our other relationships seem like hatred in comparison, nothing can change despite the lies we may tell ourselves.