INNER CIRCLE: Refuse To Be Divided

INNER CIRCLE: Refuse To Be Divided May 19, 2023

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SAYING 55: Jesus said, “Those who do not hate their fathers and their mothers cannot be disciples of me, and those who do not hate their brothers and their sisters and take up their cross like me will not become worthy of me.”


Even in the Synoptic texts, this saying is troublesome and hyperbolic. I can remember teaching this text from Matt. 10:37-38 and Luke 14:26 by pointing out that Jesus doesn’t really mean we should “hate” our parents or our brothers and sisters but that, in comparison to how much we love Jesus, it should almost appear that way. Essentially, this is hyperbole and not to be taken literally.


However, in this text, the saying takes on a slightly different nuance simply because Jesus uses terminology like “father, mother, sister and brother” to refer to the illusion of separation that covers our eyes like a veil; blinding us to the reality of Oneness.


So, it’s probably more accurate to read this statement from Thomas as, “Those who do not hate the concept of fathers and mothers cannot be following my teachings.”


Because, in this Gospel, the idea of fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers suggests the same illusions of male and female, young and old, etc.


In other words, those who follow the words of Jesus recognize those designations as signs of the false reality of separation.


What we are to understand is this: To the degree that the labels of male/female, brother/sister, father/mother, perpetuate the illusion of separation, they are to be hated and rejected; not the people, but the ideas they represent.


As Paul emphasized in his letters to the Galatians and to the Colossians:


“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28


“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” – Colossians 3:11


If we really grasp this concept as Jesus and Paul express it, then we’ll realize that we can no longer continue to relate to people as if they really were divided into these separate categories of being.


No, it’s not easy to do, but part of “taking up our own cross” involved wrestling through these things and becoming open to the renewing of our mind and the transformation of our thoughts in this new direction of Oneness with Christ and with one another.


Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.



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