We have to hate our lives?


#1

Hello everyone, I need to address an issue that’s still been on my mind from last Sunday mass. This week’s gospel reading included a Bible verse that I consider questionable: John 12:25. In this passage, Jesus says

“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal.”

I’m very confused, and a little disturbed by this Bible verse. What does it mean?


#2

How do you interpret it? What about it disturbs you?


#3

I just hope it literal? If that makes sense?


#4

The words are poorly translated and understood. We are not to attach ourselves to our lives in a severe way. “Hating” our lives is about putting our humility in a stronger place than self esteem. As GK Chesterton said, “bad actors, bad poets, and drunks have high self esteem.” I prefer to be around people who see that there are greater things than just ME, MYSELF, and I.

Further, if Christ had loved His own life He would never have gone to His crucifixion. He could have backed out. But He submitted to the will of God.


#5

It is a warning that, if you don’t make pleasing God your highest priority in this life, then, when it is over, and it will be over soon, you will not have a happy afterlife.


#6

Death Welcome to the Christian

Cyprian of Carthage

We ought to remember that we should do not our own will, but God’s, in accordance with what our Lord has bidden us daily to pray. How preposterous and absurd it is, that while we ask that the will of God should be done, yet when God calls and summons us from this world, we should not at once obey the command of His will! We struggle and resist, and after the manner of froward servants we are dragged to the presence of the Lord with sadness and grief, departing hence under the bondage of necessity, not with the obedience of free will; and we wish to be honoured with heavenly rewards by Him to whom we come unwillingly. Why, then, do we pray and ask that the kingdom of heaven may come, if the captivity of earth delights us? Why with frequently repeated prayers do we entreat and beg that the day of His kingdom may hasten, if our greater desires and stronger wishes are to obey the devil here, rather than to reign with Christ? . . . .

Peace


#7

I can explain it by saying that we are not to be attached to the things of this world; we are not to put them before the Lord and should desire to live for Him alone.

When our priorities are in the right order, it is easier to enjoy the blessings of this life.

Our true home and goal is to be with the Lord forever.

It is a daily struggle to put the Lord first in all things, but He gives us all the grace we need if we are open to it.


#8

i mean I hope it’s NOT literal. Oh dear.

Thanks for the answers everyone!


#9

Jesus used such language often. Such was a way of speaking to make a point.

Just as he said one must hate ones father and mother…

and if your eye causes you to sin - pluck it out.

Such was a way of emphasis…a way of expression.

Not intending “real hate” for ones parents but to love God above all…and not intending “real plucking” but taking the needed measures to avoid the sin.


#10

No I would not say so.


#11

Jesus used such language in various places. Such was a way of speaking to make a point.

Just as he said one must hate ones father and mother…

and if your eye causes you to sin - pluck it out.

Such was a way of emphasis…a way of expression.

Not intending “real hate” for ones parents but to love God above all…and not intending “real plucking” but taking the needed measures to avoid the serious sin.


#12

“What the Lord says of himself here in this Christological parable is applied to us in two other verses: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (v. 25). I think that when we first hear this we do not like it. We would like to say to the Lord: “But what are you telling us, Lord? Must we even hate our life? Isn’t our life a gift of God? Haven’t we been created in his image and likeness? Shouldn’t we be grateful and glad that he has given us life?”. However, Jesus’ words have another meaning. Of course the Lord has given us life and we are grateful for this. Gratitude and joy are fundamental attitudes of Christian life. Yes, we can be happy because we know that each of our lives comes from God. It is not a chance without meaning. I am wanted and loved. When Jesus says we must hate our life he means quite the opposite. He is thinking here of two fundamental attitudes. One is the attitude of wanting to keep my life selfishly, which is why I consider my life as my own property; I consider myself as my own property, which is why I want to make the very most of this life so as to live a full life, living for myself. Whoever does this, whoever lives for himself and thinks of and desires only himself, does not find himself but is lost. What the Lord tells us is precisely the opposite: not seizing life but giving it. And it is not that in seizing life for ourselves that we receive it, but in giving it, in going beyond ourselves not in looking at ourselves but rather in giving ourselves to the other in the humility of love, giving our life to him and to others. Thus we become rich, distancing ourselves from ourselves, freeing ourselves from ourselves. It is by giving, and not by seizing life that we truly receive life.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI

w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2010/march/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20100314_christuskirche.html


#13

O Jesus, Thou hast set me apart from the world; what, then, shall I seek therein? Thou hast created me for Heaven; what, then, have I to do with the world? Depart from me, deceitful world, with thy vanities! Henceforth I will follow the Way of the Cross traced out for me by my Redeemer, and journey onward to my heavenly home, there to dwell forever and ever.
-St Frances of Assisi, The Way of the Cross


#14

It means not being attached to this world. “Hate” seems like a strong word, but it’s there for a reason. But many people do hate their lives- “Life is hell and then you die” is a common attitude amongst today’s youth. Work is hard, family is hard, most people aren’t rich, attractive or talented. It’s all a struggle. Most families are dysfunctional. Most jobs suck. Then we get old, weak, etc. Even if, at a given time, a person is not actually afflicted suffering (like the rich), they will often become bored, and take to drugs, sex, or other bad things.

The secret is- if you were told you would die tomorrow, and face God- be, not only ready, but also happy about it. The best thing to do is to live quietly, and without strong ties- looking forward to the end of our earthly trial and going to Heaven.


#15

It’s not very clear.
Shame the writer or Jesus was not more straightforward.

.


#16

No, it’s clear – it’s just an archaic mode of expression that hasn’t really survived to the present.

It speaks to comparative feelings – “hate this and love that” simply means that one should love that more than this:wink:


#17

If you read the passage starting at verse 20 you will see that Jesus is referring to His own death (notice verse 23). Someone posted something similar that if Jesus loved His life here on earth more and was unwilling to die for our sins then Christians would be in pretty significant trouble. Thanks be to God He died for His people! Thanks be to God He defeated death!

Jesus was also preparing His followers for the life they would most likely lead. Most of His disciples were executed in various ways. Those are the ones documented. Think of the ones standing there, and the ones after that, that believed in Christ as Lord and Savior and lost their lives because of it.

Jesus was not telling everyone around them to hate everything about their lives. That would mean one would have to grumble against God. I certainly don’t hate my family. I don’t hate the wonderful life He blessed me with. BUT I hate the sins I commit against Him. I hate who I once was before He changed me.

Like verse 24 says about the wheat- the seed has to be planted, torn open and “die” first in order to bear the plant that bears the fruit.

Have a blessed Easter celebrating Christ’s complete and finished work on the cross!


#18

Jesus is directing his saying there to his disciples etc…


#19

“What the Lord says of himself here in this Christological parable is applied to us in two other verses: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (v. 25). I think that when we first hear this we do not like it. We would like to say to the Lord: “But what are you telling us, Lord? Must we even hate our life? Isn’t our life a gift of God? Haven’t we been created in his image and likeness? Shouldn’t we be grateful and glad that he has given us life?”. However, Jesus’ words have another meaning. Of course the Lord has given us life and we are grateful for this. Gratitude and joy are fundamental attitudes of Christian life. Yes, we can be happy because we know that each of our lives comes from God. It is not a chance without meaning. I am wanted and loved. When Jesus says we must hate our life he means quite the opposite. He is thinking here of two fundamental attitudes. One is the attitude of wanting to keep my life selfishly, which is why I consider my life as my own property; I consider myself as my own property, which is why I want to make the very most of this life so as to live a full life, living for myself. Whoever does this, whoever lives for himself and thinks of and desires only himself, does not find himself but is lost. What the Lord tells us is precisely the opposite: not seizing life but giving it. And it is not that in seizing life for ourselves that we receive it, but in giving it, in going beyond ourselves not in looking at ourselves but rather in giving ourselves to the other in the humility of love, giving our life to him and to others. Thus we become rich, distancing ourselves from ourselves, freeing ourselves from ourselves. It is by giving, and not by seizing life that we truly receive life.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI

w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2010/march/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20100314_christuskirche.html


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.