INNER CIRCLE: Love and Hate Like Jesus

INNER CIRCLE: Love and Hate Like Jesus March 16, 2024

IMAGE: Keith Giles [MidJourney]

Saying 101

Jesus said, “He who does not hate his father and his mother like me cannot be a disciple to me. And he who does not love his father and his mother like me cannot be a disciple to me. For my mother bore me, but my true mother gave me life.”

At first glance, this saying appears to contain a pair of contradictory conditions placed upon anyone who might desire to become a disciple to Jesus. One must both hate his father and mother as Jesus does, and love his father and mother as Jesus does. What could this mean?

There are two clues for us hidden in this saying that help us to unravel the meaning. Both of them show up in the final sentence. So, let’s take a look: Jesus ends the saying by pointing out that his earthly mother bore him into the world, but his true mother is who gave him life. The idea seems to be that the first mention of father and mother that we are told to hate (as Jesus does) is a reference to the earthly parents who “bore” us into the world. Why do we hate them? Because they are the ones who introduced us into this world of separation and illusion. The second mention of father and mother we are told to love (as Jesus does) are the spiritual parents who gave us life, and in the context of the Gospel of Thomas, that would be our spiritual “parents” – God the Father and the Spirit (our mother) – who awakened us to the reality that we are not separated from God or from one another.

The contrasts between hate and love (as Jesus does) is between the physical or material world which perpetuates the illusion of separation, and the spiritual or true reality which we awaken into once our eyes are opened to see the truth of Divine Unity.

The ideas of hate and love (as Jesus does) is a form of hyperbole which is often used, both in this Gospel of Thomas and in all the other New Testament Gospels as well, to over-emphasize the contrast between preferring one thing over another. In fact, this hyperbole is found throughout the Old Testament texts as well. The most famous example being the one that says “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated,” which isn’t meant to literally suggest that God hated Esau, but to emphasize how much God favored Jacob in comparison to Esau.

The refrain of “like me” in this saying is also meant to suggest to us that the specific way in which Jesus hates or loves his father and mother in each example is something we should pay attention to. It’s not literally hate or love in the generic sense that Jesus wants us to emulate, but the same kind of hyperbolic love or hate that Jesus feels towards his father and mother. Jesus “hates” his earthly father and mother because they “bore him into the world” which is the illusion of separation. Jesus “loves” his heavenly father and mother because they “gave him life” which is the beautiful reality of Divine Oneness with God – the Father God and the Mother Spirit – whereby we all enjoy an extended Oneness with all of humanity.

INSIDE/OUTSIDE: The Gospel of Thomas

Curious about the Gospel of Thomas? This self-paced online course will examine select sayings of Jesus from this text, and explain why it’s not a true “Gospel”, not truly “Gnostic” and yet, quite possibly, an authentic collection of the secret teachings from Jesus recorded by his disciples. Plus, an exploration of why the text was buried in 367 AD and uncovered in 1945.



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.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

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