When It’s OK to Hate



Recent events have drawn attention to one of the baser elements of human nature.  From the halls of Congress to the Oval Office to State Houses and the streets of our cities there seems to be an unending stream of vitriol that is fanning the flames of hatred in our country.  This harsh and generally unfair criticism has stirred up the emotions of so many people that reasonable discussion of the legitimate issues facing us is nearly impossible.  In response to these tensions many well-meaning people are simply calling for an end to the hate.  This is certainly a worthy goal, and greatly to be desired, but it is clear that most people have no idea how to achieve it.

On the one hand, many professed believers suggest that we can only end the hate if we begin to love our neighbors as ourselves, just as the Lord commanded.  In Mt. 22:37-40, in response to a question from a lawyer as to which commandment was the greatest, the Lord said that the foremost commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind.  The second, He said, is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Certainly if all of us obeyed these two commands all the hatred would end.

On the other hand, there is another aspect of biblical teaching that applies to this discussion.  It is something that in large measure has been overlooked, and which many people might dismiss without a second thought.  This biblical truth is that there are some things that we must hate.  The reason we must hate them is because God Himself hates them.

In Prov. 6:16-19 Solomon wrote, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”  These seven sins are at the root of virtually every problem we face as individuals and as a nation.  The magnitude of these sins is seen in the Lord’s response to them.  Solomon says that God hates them, and they are an abomination to Him.  This means these are things we cannot tolerate if we want to be right with Him.

We generally recoil from the idea of hatred, but in the context of Solomon’s wisdom, surely we can see that there are times when it is appropriate, and necessary, to hate.  The consequences of not doing so are evident in the scriptures.  Part of the reason for the condemnation of Judah was because their spiritual leaders were prophesying falsely (sinning) and the people loved it instead of opposing it (Jer. 5:31).  In a similar way, we have tacitly given our approval to the things God hates by our silence about them.  These things have been on display in our land for far too long without any serious challenge from godly people.  As a result, we are reaping the fruit of our silence.

We must understand, however, that while it is appropriate to hate certain things, hating these sins does not mean we hate the ones who commit them.  God the Father hates these things, but He so loved the ones committing them that He sent His only Son to die on the cross in order to forgive their sins.  This is the model that we must follow.  We must condemn sin in every instance that we encounter it.  But we must do so with the ultimate goal of saving the sinner by means of the blood of Jesus Christ.  This is why we call people to repent of sin in whatever form it may be manifested.  This is the highest form of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, and it is the only way the sinner can be saved.

Clearly, if more of us hated the things that God hates, we would no longer tolerate the sins that have created the evil environment in which we live.  If we all hated the things God hates, the other kind of hatred would absolutely cease.