Problem: My family values are simple: hate your family. And I don’t mean just compared to your love for me. Hate them. Create huge, nasty arguments with them and then have them killed. (Luke 14:26; Matt. 10:21, 34).
Response: Let’s look at what those passages you referenced actually say and mean in context:
Luke 14:25-27 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Despite what you think, this was a statement of hyperbole. It was to show how great our love of God is to be, in contrast to the most loving relationships a person could think of. God is to have first place in our hearts (see Dt. 6:5). In the parable immediately preceding this verse Jesus was showing how indifferent people were to God, putting everything else before love and duty to God. His point was that our priorities are messed up. Only when we love God first and foremost, can we truly show love for others. In the parables following this statement, He talks about counting the cost of discipleship. Knowing before you make the choice, what it will mean to finish what you begin.
‘Hateth not,’ ou(NT:3756) misei (NT:3404). An old and very strong verb miseoo (NT:3404), to hate, detest. The Orientals use strong language where cooler spirits would speak of preference or indifference. But even so Jesus does not here mean that one must hate his father or mother of necessity or as such, for Matt. 15:4 proves the opposite. It is only where the element of choice comes in (cf. Matt 6:24) as it sometimes does, when father or mother opposes Christ. Then one must not hesitate. The language here is more sharply put than in Matt. 10:37. The ou (NT:3756) here coalesces with the verb misei (NT:3404) in this conditional clause of the first class determined as fulfilled. It is the language of exaggerated contrast, it is true, but it must not be watered down until the point is gone. In mentioning "and wife" Jesus has really made a comment on the excuse given in Luke 14:20 ("I married a wife and so I am not able to come").
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft & Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright (c) 1985 by Broadman Press)
Matt 10:21-22 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Matt 10:34-39 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The context of the Matthew 10 verses is the persecution of Christians, up to and including betrayal of the Christians by their own family members. It is not the Christians who are betraying their family members to be killed; it is the Christians who are being betrayed to death. It is a warning that if one chooses to follow Christ one must be prepared to face death and know that if one’s family members do not accept the gospel they may be the very one’s who hand them over to be killed. This was true for Christians in the 1st century and it is still true in many countries around the world. In some Muslim countries, it is considered the duty of family members to not only turn in those who turn from Islam to Christianity, but to personally execute those who do so.
In fact, contrary to this philosophy of hate, Jesus tells His followers to love and pray for those who persecute us.
Matt 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Luke 6:27-31 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Problem: I don’t know what nonsense you’ve heard about me coming in “peace,” but it is a lie. I have not come to send peace, but a sword. (Matt. 10:34)
Response: Again let’s look at the context.
Matt 10:34-36 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law- 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
Isa. 9:6 had given the Messiah the title of “Prince of Peace.” The people were looking for the Messiah to fight their battles, defeat their enemies and usher in an era of peace such as they hadn’t known since the days of David and Solomon. This is a very real hope, one we still look forward to at the 2nd Coming, but at the time of His 1st Coming He came to die for us and rise again. In doing so He fulfilled over 100 prophecies which is what gives us a reasonable hope He will fulfill the rest. He also provided forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:20-22) which allows us to have peace with God (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14-18) and inner peace (Rom. 8:6; 2 Thess. 3:16)—a “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
However, when He said, “not peace but a sword”—He meant this is a divisive issue (see the parallel passage in Lk. 12:51-53). Choosing to follow Christ will bring division among friends and family as some will choose to follow Him and some won’t. Those who follow will know the pain of alienation from their families and possibly even betrayal to executioners by their own family members.
"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Lk. 12:51-53)
This is about counting the cost of discipleship--understanding that some friends and family will not choose to follow Jesus. Believers need to know that there will be divisions to the point of enmity among friends and family if they follow Jesus. Christians need to love Jesus more, but need to be prepared for the consequences to their relationships.
Problem: If you leave a terse note on the fridge and abandon your wife, children and parents you will be richly rewarded and go to Heaven. (Matt. 19:29)
Response: Matt. 19:29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
There is nothing here about leaving a terse note and abandoning one’s family. This goes back to counting the cost of discipleship. Jesus had just explained that it is as hard for a rich man to enter Heaven as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:23-34). Peter then mentioned that he and the other disciples had left everything to follow Jesus (see Luke 5:8-11) and was wondering what would be left for them (Matt. 19:27). When James and John were called to follow Jesus and left their father’s fishing business and followed Jesus (Matt. 4:21-22; Mark 1:19-20), it was not without the knowledge and support of their family since Zebedee was in the boat when Jesus called them. Their mother, Salome, is mentioned several times in the gospel accounts (Matt. 20:20; 27:55-56; Mark 15:40; 16:1; John 19:25). Jesus’ own family, his mother and brothers (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3) were initially wary of his ministry efforts (Mark 3:21, 31), but later on they also became His followers (Acts 1:14). Both James and Jude, Jesus’ brothers, became leaders in the early church and wrote the books of the Bible named after them. Paul mentions that the other apostles including the Lord’s brother (James) and Cephas (a.k.a. Peter) brought their wives along when they went on missionary trips (1 Cor. 9:5).
If one’s family does not join you in following Christ and is not willing to stay with you as you follow Him, then you are still to love Him more and go on and follow Him, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t fully explain things to them, give them the opportunity to stay with you and learn about Christ. Just because one becomes a Christian does not mean one has to abandon one’s family. In fact in other places in Scripture we are told that as much it depends on us we are to live at peace with all men (Rom 12:18). Plus married people who become Christians when their spouse and children have not, are told not to seek divorce but to live godly lives before their loved ones (1 Cor. 7:10-16) with the hope that they too will be saved. If the non-believing spouse chooses to leave the Christian is to let them go, but they are not to try to make them go nor are they to be the one’s who leave.