I used to quail in my heart, once I had children. I realized, as a person who strives to survive in spite of odds, that having these lives in my care stretches me beyond my protection, as they are not always with me. They are, in fact, a liability in the war for my soul, as my love for them could be used as leverage against me by the prince of this world. I have, I thought, enough trouble getting over myself, without the potential of having my heart carved from my chest should something happen to one of them--to be used as a fulcrum to cause me to act, in defiance of my salvation, as my flesh would in any number of circumstances.
To this thought, Jesus speaks bitter medicine, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37
I used to find this verse so offensive that it hurt, like sunlight suddenly hitting my eyes before I can avert them. I did not understand how such a thing could be demanded of me. I love my parents very much. I love my children and would readily give up my life for theirs. I hold most of my friends in a level of love no less.
But the Lord did not lessen those facts with His teaching.
He spoke those words because love of anyone or anything above YHWH our Elohim grants Satan a stronghold to erect within our minds, for *his* purposes; the towering walls of which blind us to true relationship with God, our source of strength and rest if we would deny ourselves and obey Him.
I have learned the harsh reality that those who will reject God's way and instead choose their own are numbered among those we love dearly, and from those places, Satan would fly the banner of Grief and Despair and make war upon us with them. Those spiritual weapons are then strengthened by the lifeline of that love and brought to bear against our hearts, where they can siphon sustenance from our finite source because we are not then connected to the Infinite Source, and by the horrifying Truth of what the Word of God says that rejection truly means, can bring us to ruin as well, should we call ourselves followers of Jesus and yet disobey His Word in Matthew 10:37.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
This is the language of war. We must comprehend this as followers of Jesus, wake from our slumber, and fight. As was said to the bewildered main character in The 13th Warrior, upon being tossed a large wooden beam in the face of an onrushing cavalry, "Put your foot on it! And STAND!"
For that stronghold to be brought down, and for the foundations to be so removed as to prevent another like it to be brought to bear again, we must swallow what for some of us are the bitter dregs of Jesus' words. Love for God before all others grants us protection from being destroyed when those whom we dearly love reject the Truth--of conforming to the image of Christ and being transformed by the renewing of our minds, because it offends their flesh, or frightens their pride to the core.
As those who hold their own wisdom as superior to God's Word have rejected it, the Gospel must therefore be tended where it has been accepted. Our grief for where it fell ignored upon the rocks, or was choked by weeds or devoured by predators, connects our hearts with that of YHWH, and as such we must never be disconnected from that sorrow... as there, but for the grace of God, go we.