Beautiful and praiseworthy is the love of one's neighbor, unless her cares distract us from the love of God. Reverend Isaac the Syrian (55, 402).
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides his very life, he can not be My disciple" (Luke 14, 26). Is there a contradiction in the fact that the hatred of parents and close relatives is commanded to us, who is commanded to love even the enemies ?! Indeed, Truth speaks of the wife: "What God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mt. 19, 6). And [the apostle] Paul says: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church" (Eph. 5, 25). Here the disciple commands to love his wife, whereas the Master says: "Who ... does not hate his wife ... can not be my disciple." Is it possible that one announces the Judge, and the other is preached by a preacher? Or can we both hate and love? But if we understand the power of the commandment, we can do both through division, so that we will love those who are close to us, and hate and avoid those who are hostile to us in the way of God. How, through hatred of them, to Love One Who is not listened to by those who are in the flesh, when they inflict wickedness on us. But, to show that the Lord produces this hatred for his neighbors, not from the disposition of the soul, but from love, He immediately added: "And your very life." So, we are commanded to hate others and to their souls. Therefore, in loving, he must hate his neighbor, who hates him as he does himself. For we hate our soul when we do not follow its wishes, when we struggle with its pleasures. So, it is as though through hatred is loved, when, being despised, is guided to the best. This is how we should express our hatred for our neighbors, so that we can love them in them, and hate them, what they impede us in the way of God.
It is known that when [the apostle] Paul went to Jerusalem, the prophet Agab took his belt, tied his hands and feet to them and said: "The husband, whose belt, so will bind in Jerusalem" (Acts 21, 10, 11). What did the one who completely hate his soul say? "I not only want to be a prisoner, but I am willing to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21, 13) "I do not value my life" (Acts 20, 24). This is how the apostle, loving, hated, and hated, loved his soul, which he wished to put to death for Jesus, to raise her to life from the death of sin.
So, this concept of hatred towards ourselves will be transferred to hatred of our neighbor. We must love everyone in this world, not excluding the enemy, but on the way of God we do not need to love the enemy, even if he was a relative. For whoever longs for the eternal, he must be on that path of God, to which he enters without a father, without a mother, without a wife, without children, without relatives, without himself, so that the more accurately he knows God, the less one remembers someone in the matter of His reverence. For it means a lot when carnal passions disperse the mind's attention and overshadow His insight; But we do not suffer harm from them if we hold them in a strained position. So, we must love our neighbors, love must be extended to all near and far, but for the sake of this love, one must not shy from the love of God.
But how to express this very hatred of the soul. Truth explains further: "And whosoever does not bear his cross and follows me, can not be my disciple" (Luke 14, 27). Because the cross is called so from the "cross", the crucifixion on the cross. And we carry the cross of the Lord in two ways: either mortifying the flesh with abstinence, or considering the misfortune of our neighbor as our own, for sympathy. For he who expresses sorrow for someone else's trouble, he carries a cross in his soul. But we must know that there are people who use the abstinence of the flesh not for God's sake, but for vanity. And there are many who express sympathy for their neighbor not in spirit, but in flesh, in order to promote it not in Virtue, but as if in guilt. These people, although they seem to be bearing the cross, do not follow the Lord. Therefore, the same truth justly says: "And whoever does not bear his cross and follows me can not be my disciple." For to bear the cross and follow the Lord means either to mortify the flesh by abstinence, or to show sympathy for one's neighbor, at the will of an eternal goal. But who does this for the sake of a temporary purpose, he, though wearing a cross, refuses to follow the Lord. Saint Gregory Dvoslov (116, 179-180).
Why do you love a child more than your Master? Did not He give you a child? Why are you so ungrateful that you love a gift more than a Giver? St. John Chrysostom (45, 429).
Everyone who, and whoever he is, for example, parents - children and children - parents, husband - wife and wife - husband, etc., until then must love, until this love agrees with the love of God. Otherwise, love for man must yield to the love of God. Especially love for one's own life can not be preferred to the love of God: "He who loves 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). Because God must love more than any creature, more than any man and more than himself. Prelate Tikhon Zadonsky (104, 983).
There is nothing more precious and desirable than a man who is happy with your happiness, as his own, and participates in misfortune, as if he himself suffered. But it is necessary that friendship be based on virtue. For the friendship based on passion and the unfriendly friendship is not a friendship, but a combination of malice and conspiracy. So, for example, Pilate and Herod were in constant quarrel, but, having agreed to kill the innocent Jesus, they were reconciled. In order for the honest world of friendship to be firmly established, it is necessary to have equality in the estate and honor, that is, it is necessary to have at least as much care about the benefits and honor of one's friend as about one's own, and if this does not happen, then the friendship will soon be destroyed, and will only be hypocritical. And therefore we must be careful that in the guise of friendship our kind-hearted crafty people do not pay to themselves for their benefit, but to us to harm. For, according to the apostolic word, there are misfortunes "between false brothers" (2Cor. 11, 26). And between the apostles was Judas the traitor. If brother's brother is sincere, they will stand firm. Not in food and drink is friendship, such are robbers and murderers. But if we are really friends, if we truly care for each other, help each other, it's friendship for good, it helps us not to go to hell. Plato, Metropolitan of Moscow (105, 200-203).
When people close to us in the flesh are going to distract us from following the will of God, we will show them holy hatred ... The holy hatred of our neighbor is to remain faithful to God, to reject the vicious will of people (108, 92).
Our natural love is damaged by a fall, it must be killed ... and gleaned from the Gospel holy love for one's neighbor, love in Christ (108, 123).
The teaching of the Gospel expresses love for the near fulfillment of the Lord's all-holy commandments concerning him; satisfaction with the wishes and whims of the human they recognize as a soul-destroying man-hedge and are afraid of it just as they fear and avoid self-esteem. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (111, 271).