Enjoy Paul's addition to the conversation started in our Winter Spiritual Journal on "Relating in the New Earth" (starting on page 52). According to Paul's fascinating translations and interpretations of the Gospels, the greatest relationship may be the one of opening up and discovering our True Selves.

The more I re-translate the Gospels, the more I recognize Jesus was teaching a process of individuation similar to Carl Jung’s, which can be described as a psychological process of differentiating the self from conscious and unconscious elements over one's lifetime. One teaching from Jesus that was always hard for me to understand is this one: 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26-27, NRSV).

The word that threw me off was “hate.” Jesus was about love, not hate. I tried to find meanings that would soften that term. But it’s very clear in the Greek lexicons this word means to hate or detest someone. It took me a while before I remembered and connected the style of Jesus’ statements in another lesson with this one. Do you remember that Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out!” The same thing applies to the word “hate.”

Jesus was a master of hyperbole. It was his way of saying something dramatic to catch your attention and to make a MAJOR point. I knew he wanted us to love our enemies, not hate them. I had to assume that he didn’t want us to harbor ill-will towards our ‘loved ones’ either. So what did he mean by “hating” the people closest to us?

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s process of individuation involves searching the contents of one’s own soul, better understood as one’s subconscious mind. The word translated as “life” in the verse above is the word psyche, the contents of one’s mind. Who was more involved in the process of the early development of our subconscious mind than the people we grew up with?

Carl Jung. ETH Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This post is for subscribers only

Subscribe now to read the post and get full access to exclusive content.

Subscribe now Already have an account? Sign in