Is it always a bad thing to hate? Is hatred always a wrong emotion/feeling? What should we do with our hatred as Christians?
Today starts a four-week series on Godly emotions and attitudes, and we begin with the often misunderstood and often neglected emotion of hate.
The title of this post is intentionally alarming, after all, how can an emotion such as hatred possibly be “holy?” But as we read God’s Word, we find a God who hates, a God who hates sin and injustice, and a God who loves His people and desires to be their God.
So, as Christians, we must be clear: We do not hate people. We do not hate other sinners. We have no right to hate people, because we are no better than they are. The only reason we stand righteous before a holy God is because God has shown us grace, we have trusted Christ to be our Lord, and we have trusted in His salvation. That’s it. All grace. All Jesus.
But we do hate sin. And we do hate evil. And we do hate injustice. And we do hate that which keeps us and others from God.
In Amos 5:15, God commands His people to “hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate.” Paul echoes this in Romans 12:9 when he tells the church at Rome to “abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
But we often hate other things that really don’t matter. We hate that our favorite sports team lost (guilty). We hate that our boss doesn’t seem to respect us. We hate that that “jerk” on the road cut us off. We hate that our showers aren’t hot enough, or that our phones break down, or that we don’t have as much money as the next person.
We are guilty of wasting our hatred on things that don’t matter.
Christian, don’t waste your hate!
Joe Thorn, pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in Saint Charles, Illinois, has written an immensely helpful book called “Note to Self.” The purpose is to train believers in the practice of preaching to themselves. In one of the chapters, entitled “Hate Well,” Thorn asks helpful questions about our hatred:
“Do you hate pride and arrogance? Injustice and the way of evil? Hurtful speech? Do false gospels and false teachers create a holy hostility in you? Do you hate works-righteousness and the false promise of peace with God through performance? I hope you do” (95).
Here’s the deal: When we start trusting Jesus, we start to love Jesus. And when we start to love Jesus, we start to hate what He hates. We hate sin, both in our lives and in the world around us. So, yes, we hate our neighbor’s sin, but no, we do not hate our neighbor. In fact, the opposite is true: Because we love our neighbor, we hate their sin because it keeps them from knowing God and walking with Him like we were made to do.
When we come to Christ, we take His worldview, and we see things through His eyes. We should have a passion to see human trafficking end, to see the poor taken care of, not taken advantage of, to see Godly marriages and Godly families flourish, and to see both men and women respected as carriers of God’s image, fallen as they are. And most of all, we should work to make the gospel known, so that others can trust Christ to be Lord of their life, and trust in what He’s done for them in His life, death and resurrection.
So, brothers and sisters, may we hate. May we hate well. May we hate our sin, and take all necessary measures to kill it, trusting what Christ has done for us. May we hate that which dishonors God and seeks to destroy others. God, may you lead us to love what you love, and hate what you hate.
Next week, we’ll talk about mourning well as a Christian. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.