“If anyone 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)
In today’s world, we have a new breed of hero. This kind of hero is not celebrated by what good they do to people or to society. These heroes are celebrated by how well they make themselves look good.
I used to like watching “Survivor,” but I soon realize what’s really wrong about it. The latest Survivor finale had the same old story. One of the contestants said “you should vote for me for how I played the game.” What that really means is, “I should be rewarded for self-love and self-preservation, and to achieving the goal of the last man standing by whatever means necessary, including lying and cheating.” Survivor champions are usually greeted by loud cheers in the finale live show. They’re often asked, “Would you do this again?” Of course they say they will. Who wouldn’t give up the chance of self-glorification in front of millions of TV viewers?
I recently read a book on starting a home-based business. The author talks about how to choose what kind of business to get into. “Clear away years of conditioning of what you should do,” the author wrote, “and focus on what you want to do.” The author listed the things that are “should do” as things the society told us, such as earning $x thousand dollars, having a house in the suburbs and 2.5 kids. While I know that it’s great to do what you want to do, there’s such a thing called “responsibility” especially to your family. But when you hear people saying they want to do what they want to do, be who they want to be, especially on those daytime talk shows, you know that self is elevated. And nowadays people clap their hands to those who claim their freedom by doing whatever they themselves want to do.
Even Christians have been dragged by this. We like to read verses like “love your neighbor as yourself,” and then talk about learning how to love yourself in order to love others. I say that is totally missing the point. Remember Jesus told us to hate our own lives. My pastor recently explained this to us very well what that “hate” means. If you love God so much that everything else pales in comparison, any self-love that you have would be so incomparable that it looks like “hate” compared to how much you’re supposed to love God.
The world doesn’t celebrate people who love God. It doesn’t matter. God does.