Let’s Talk About Hate
The topic of hate generates all sorts of thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, we are living in a culture right now that is engulfed in bitter, bitter hatred. And, as much as some might try to rationalize their hatred for certain individuals, there is nothing rational about people hating people. How is a Christian to live in this kind of environment? Too often we “get sucked in” and begin to imitate the behavior (and the hatred) that we see around us. Is it ok for a Christian to hate someone else? In all things we are to “be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1) so let’s examine the matter of hate from God’s perspective. Does God hate anyone? Did He ever?
One would be hard-pressed to successfully teach with the Bible that God hates any person. BUT, does that mean that God does not “hate” at all? Quite the contrary. The Bible teaches that God hates “every abomination” (Dt.12:31; Jeremiah 33:4; Jer. 44:4), “evil” (Proverbs 6:18), “idolatry” (Deuteronomy 16:21-22; Revelation 2:6, 15), “wickedness” (Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 1:9), “iniquity” (Psalms 5:5), “pride” (Proverbs 6:17), “lying” (Proverbs 6:17), “murder” (Proverbs 6:17), “wicked plans” (Proverbs 6:18), “a false oath” (Zechariah 8:17; Proverbs 6:19 ), “divorce” (Malachi 2:16), etc.
Notice carefully that it is the act, the deed, the intent that God hates. For example, Scripture teaches that God hates “divorce,” but it never teaches that God hates one who is divorced. God hates sin and evil, because it is contrary to His holy nature (Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:16). But the Bible just as clearly teaches that God loves sinners (Romans 5:8; John 3:16), to the extent that He sent His own Son to die for them. That’s not hate! That’s love (1 John 4:10)—even toward the worst sinners who have ever lived!
The Bible very plainly makes the same distinction for followers of God. We are also to hate “evil” (Psalms 97:10; Proverbs 8:13; Amos 5:15), “every false way” (Psalms 119:104, 128), “lying” (Psalms 119:163; Proverbs 13:5), “pride” (Proverbs 8:13), “arrogance” (Proverbs 8:13 ), “the perverse mouth” (Proverbs 8:13), etc. But in no Bible passage are children of God called upon or permitted to hate anyone! Hate sin? Yes! Hate evil and wickedness in every form? Yes! Hate a person made in the image of God? No! There’s no Bible for that!
Rather, the child of God is to follow the example of God, even (and especially) in this respect. Rather than hate anyone, we are to “love” everyone (Matthew 5:44). That love is not merely in word or thought (1 John 3:18), but is demonstrated when we “do good to” and “pray for” all men (Matthew 5:44; Galatians 6:10). Brethren, we cannot hate someone and claim to be “of God” (1 John 2:9, 11; 3:15; 4:20)! As children of God, we must conform ourselves to the image of our God!
I borrowed this article to reinforce the idea that there are some things we need to hate – especially those things that will not lead us closer to God. We should never hate people, but God makes it clear that there are some things we should hate.
David Sproule Palm Beach Lake Church of Christ