Some scriptures, however familiar, seem to continue to challenge me. Recently I’ve been wondering in what situations hate is a right emotion to feel. When is it appropriate for a believer to feel hate, and what do we do with that strong negative emotion so it doesn’t become an inroad for enemy activity in our lives or in the lives of others? I have to say it didn’t initially strike me as a very godly emotion, but my wondering caused me to look through the Scriptures for times when God spoke about His feelings of hate. There seemed to be plenty of references, but one section of Proverbs 6 makes it abundantly clear when, and what, God hates,
These six things the Lord hates, a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).
I wonder if we really hate these things, or do we rather let them slip by without much emotional response. Is it a bit too emotionally costly to really hate what God hates in our own life as well as in the world around us? Jesus demonstrated to His disciples by His own strong responses to ungodliness, especially towards those who were arrogant and religious, that He hated those things. The religious leaders, more than any others Jesus encountered, demonstrated lying, deceit, planning murder, instigating false witnesses. In fact, they did all the things that God hates. But do we also hate all these sins, with the same passion, when it is tempting for us to slip into these in our own lives?
But what action did this strong response of hate trigger in Jesus? He went on speaking the truth and loving all who had an open heart to receive from Him, but He resisted the enemy working in and through such wickedness. He loved the sinner because His arms were always open for a rebellious people (see Is 65:2), but He hated their sin.
Jesus in His teaching to the disciples says, ‘anyone who loves their life will lose it but anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life’ (John 12:25) These are very strong words and I wonder if we really understand how essential it is for us to choose what we love and what we hate; what we cling to and what we utterly reject. I suspect we may all need to desire to strengthen our emotional response to evil, to learn to hate it as much as we earnestly desire to love God more. Clearly our well-being, as we live our God-given life on earth, seeking to become more like Jesus, as well as our eternal life, depends on this.
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