“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” [John 12:25]
I find these words about hating your life in this world troubling taken at face value. Isn’t life a precious gift that we should cherish? And if we’re all supposed to hate our lives in this world, are we also supposed to hate each other’s lives? Should we prefer never having been born?
The way I make peace with this hard saying is to think of it as provocative exaggeration: the challenge is to discover the truth for ourselves, much like in a parable. There is such a thing as healthy self-care, healthy self-regard and healthy enjoyment of this life. Jesus did, after all, come as healer and giver of new life—and he is remembered as enjoying dinner parties to the point of being accused of gluttony and drunkenness.