This post continues where DOES GOD HATE: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? — PART 1 left off.
What is the subject? God commands us to love Him and each other. Is all sin then a failure to love as we should love, and all hate anathema to love, thus sinful? That is what some believe, but what if this belief is untrue? How are those who believe this untruth harmed? Will God punish people for loving instead of hating?
In the last post we asked How Does God Hate? and we defined the following: Children of God; Good and Evil; Grace, Mercy, Truth, Justice,….., and Holy Spirit; Love and Hate; and Sin. Here we will consider when love and hate are appropriate.
A Time To Love,
And A Time To Hate (from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Because God is Holy, we should always love God, but what about our neighbor? When does our neighbor become as a ravening dog or swine to us, someone so vile we must rightfully abhor their presence? There is no simple answer, but we should not judge others more harshly than we wish to be judged by God.
Matthew 7:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
When we judge another we choose to love or hate something about them. Why is whether we choose to love or hate so critical?
- Love does not solve problems, but it does motivate us to obey God and help each other. When we love God, we study and try to obey His moral laws. When we love each other, we strive to be patient with each other, and we help each other. We give our neighbors a helping hand. We participate in politics to protect our neighbors’ rights. We give to charity…..
- Righteous hatred does not solve problems, but it does motivate us to minimize the harm done by evildoers. When see someone doing wrong, we try to stop them. We blow the whistle. We join the posse. When we see that a war is just, we gird ourselves for battle.
Consider for a moment that image of Adolf Hitler at the beginning of this post. Of course that picture was propaganda, but contemplate for a moment the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis. Millions systematically exterminated. No big deal? Of course not.
When someone does something evil, are we suppose to love what they do? Are we suppose to be indifferent? Or are we suppose to hate evil? With unabashed fervor, that image of Hitler called for righteous anger, hatred. Was it wrong? Before you judge, consider again how many of those millions died (see Extermination camp).
If we love someone won’t we hate any evil that befalls them? If we cannot allow ourselves to hate whatever evil harms our loved ones, how can we say we love them? To not hate requires indifference. To hate requires us to love. Hatred is another way we manifest our love.
Hatred, therefore, is not always evil. Hatred becomes a problem when we do not love righteously. Therefore, while God will not punish people just for loving instead of hating, it is quite likely He will punish those who love or hate wrongly.
When we love wrongly, we enable bad behavior.
- If we love our self or worship some idol of our own making more than God, we will ignore God’s moral law. Think of narcissism, the love of money, or the love of sex. Contemplate the emptiness of a soul indifferent to anyone’s welfare save his own.
- If we love another person more than God, we enable sin. Think of a spoiled child, the leaders we give too much power because we worship the power of the state, or the sex and drug addicts we refuse to hold accountable.
When hate wrongly we destroy either ourselves or others.
- If we hate God, we never learn from our suffering. Instead of examining our own behavior and correcting it, we blame God for our foolishness.
- If we hate our self, we will punish our self with self-destructive behaviors. Think of despair, that lazy fool who has given up trying, or the glutton obsessed with sex, food, drugs, or….
- If we hate our neighbors, we will destroy our relationships, and we will hurt those we should love. Think of the bigotry, the stealing, the murder, the gossip, and so forth that stems from anger, greed and envy.
The Wisdom Of The Bible
John 14:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
If we want to learn what God loves and what God hates, we need to read the Bible. The Bible provides us the commandments of God. If we wish to obey Jesus and keep His commandments, we must read the Bible.
Consider one of the passages that people cite to justify the notion that Christianity is all about love.
Matthew 22:34-40 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
As the footnotes indicate, Jesus summarized the Mosaic Law by referring to two verses in the Old Testament. Did Jesus say the Law did not matter any more? No. Then what was Jesus’ point? In order to obey the commandments of God, we need the motivation that comes from loving God and our neighbors.
If we truly love Jesus, then we will read His Word. We will do our best to understand our Lord, obey His commandments, and follow His example. We will strive to become wise in the ways of our Lord.
An Afterthought: Why Do Some People Insist That Hatred Is Wrong?
The Bible does contain admonitions against rage (Proverbs 15:18), and it tells us that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:35). Nevertheless, even Jesus grew angry, and He drove the money changers from the temple.
Mark 11:15-19 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?[a] But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”[b]
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
In fact the Bible speaks approvingly of righteous hatred (Psalm 101:3, Psalm 119:128, and Proverbs 13:5 for example). So why do people have a problem with it? Well, none of us can get into another person’s mind and examine it. We can only speculate based upon what we know about ourselves and what people say.
What do I know about myself? I can be quite cowardly and lazy. When I see someone doing something I know is wrong, I find it easier to tolerate bad behavior than to condemn it and try to stop it. That is especially true if I don’t know or care about the people involved. Don’t we all find it difficult to love a neighbor we don’t even know?
Why do people say they are willing tolerate bad behavior? We have tried to turn Truth into what we each want to believe. At the same time, we have turned tolerance into a virtue. Therefore, what is right and what is wrong IS NOT whatever is actually right and whatever is actually wrong. More and more our society proclaims that Good and Evil are just our personal preferences, that tolerance is the only “virtue” we must publicly endorse.
So it is we find many things Americans would not have put up with just a few decades ago “tolerable.” At the same time that sort of behavior we say we want to see in each other is becoming less common. Here are lists of both.
Galatians 5:19-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.