“A Time to Love and a Time to Hate” Is Hatred Always Wrong? What Does the Bible Teach? Bible teaching about anger and controlling your temper: When you are angry, do you blow up, clam up? What guidance do the Scriptures give to control wrath? Surely hatred is often bad, but is it always wrong or evil? What should we not hate? Is it ever acceptable to hate? When people teach that others are wrong because they participate in some practice, does that mean they are guilty of improper hatred? Should they be accused of hate speech or hate crimes, and should laws be passed to punish them? When the Bible is taught and people reject the teaching, who is really guilty of improper hatred? How many times have you heard people say things like the following? “Hate has no place in our society.” “We need to learn to love, not hate.” When people speak out against some practice, they are accused of being full of hate or using hate speech or a hate crime. People often act and speak as though love is always good and hate always bad. Hatred is a failure to love. Matthew 6:24 – No man can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. Hatred is not just the opposite of love, but a lack of love, the absence of love. Love is a devotion or attachment that leads us to have a favorable view of someone or something such that we desire to promote it, benefit it, or seek its well being. Hatred is generally hostility, animosity, or antagonism that leads us to have an unfavorable view of someone or something such that we desire it to be harmed, destroyed, or defeated. But in the Bible hatred sometimes refers to loving one thing less than another. You don’t have to actively oppose a thing to hate it. So long as you don’t actively pursue its good or don’t love it as much as you love something else, then you hate it. Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is “a time to love and a time to hate.” The purpose of this study is to learn which is which. Surely hatred is often bad, but is it always bad? Just because someone tells people they are wrong, does that mean they are guilty of improper hatred? When we tell people what the Bible says and they reject the teaching, who is really guilty of improper hatred? Consider: I. Things We Should Not Hate A. God and Jesus We might think that no one would hate God, but there are several ways people are guilty. Some people actively resent God and His authority. Romans 1:30 – Those who are worthy of death include “haters of God.” The context discusses people who ought to believe, but reject the knowledge of God and so end up in false worship and immorality of all kinds. These people may worship idols, etc. (vv 23,24). What they hate is the God of the Bible, who places restrictions on them. John 7:7 – Jesus said the world hated Him, because He testified that its works were evil. Again, they hated Him because He made demands on their lives. Some professed to believe He was not from God, saying He was a sinner, He did miracles by the power of Satan,etc. But the root problem was that He proved they were in sin, and they did not want to change. In that sense we are surrounded by haters of God: people who refuse to have God in their knowledge and resent any effort to remind them of God. [John 15:18,23-25; Isaiah 53:3] Some people are indifferent to God or love something else more than God. Matthew 6:24 – People cannot have two masters. They love one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches). These people may not actively resent God, but their lives are controlled by material interests instead of God. This is hatred, because it is a lack of love for God. This shows that everyone hates something. It is impossible to love everything, and God does not expect us to love everything. When two things that are antagonistic, the more you love one, the more you hate the other. 1 John 2:15-17 – If you love God, then you must not love the world. If you love the world, then the love of the Father is not in you. God views that as hating Him. Some people show they hate God by disobeying Him. Proverbs 14:2 – One who is perverse in his ways despises the Lord (maybe not intentionally). John 14:15,24 – If we love God, we keep His commands. But he who does not love Jesus does not keep His words. So to disobey is to lack love – God says we hate Him. When people claim that others are guilty of hatred, simply because they warn people they are guilty of sin, those people need to consider who really is guilty of hatred. In God’s view, the person who sins is guilty of hatred, not the person who rebukes the sinner. Matthew 22:37-39 – The greatest command of all is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. There are some things we should hate, but we must make sure we never hate God, either deliberately, by neglect, or by disobedience. [2 Chronicles 19:2; Romans 2:4; Psalms 139:21; Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 7:10; 32:41; 1 Samuel 2:30; 2 Samuel 12:9,10; Psalms 68:1; 81:15; Isaiah 49:7; Jeremiah 23:17] B. Truth and God’s Word Again, we might think no one would ever hate truth or hate God’s word. But there are many ways people are guilty, including the following: Some people actively resent the restrictions or requirements of truth. Isaiah 5:20,24 – Some people call evil good, and good evil. They reject the law of God and despise His word. This goes hand in hand with the people who openly hate God. They love to practice things that God says are evil, so they not only don’t want to hear the truth, but the openly resent it. 1 Kings 22:8 – Ahab said he hated the prophet Micaiah, because he always prophesied evil concerning him. Ahab was the most wicked king of Israel up to that time. He married Jezebel, worshiped idols, allowed Jezebel to have a man killed so Ahab could take his vineyard, and followed evil of all kinds. When a true prophet told him the truth, he hated it. The problem is that people want to live to please themselves. They do not want to be restricted. An online student once said (in effect): “Don’t tell us what to believe. Don’t tell us what we have to do.” But the whole purpose of the Bible is to tell us what to believe and what to do! Society is filled with people who argue against truth and defend other views, even when shown what the Bible says. So they choose other religions, other religious authorities, or no authority at all except their own desires. What God says is simply not what they want to believe, so they openly hate it. Some people resent being rebuked by God’s word. John 3:19-21 – People who love truth will come to God’s word so it can reveal truth. But some people hate the light and refuse to come to it, because they don’t want their deeds exposed. 2 Chronicles 36:15,16 – God described the sins of Judah and how He sent His messengers to warn them. But the people mocked the messengers, despised God’s words, and scoffed at His prophets. For such people, there was no remedy. God had no other solution: He sent them into captivity. Hebrews 12:5,6 – The New Testament likewise warns us not to despise the chastening of the Lord. We should realize that chastisement and rebuke from God’s word is based on God’s love for us. Like the parent who corrects a disobedient child, God corrects us hoping to lead us to be righteous (vv 7-11). [Proverbs 3:11] Again, rebuke of sin is an act of love, not of hatred. Properly done, it is for the benefit of one in sin to lead him to repent and be saved. When people resent it, they hate the word of God. Some people hate truth by refusing to obey it. Psalms 50:16-20 – God says the wicked hate instruction and cast His words behind them. They consent with thieves and fellowship adulterers, speak evil, slandering their brothers, etc. Note that these people claimed God’s covenant and taught His word (v16). But God says they had no right to, because their conduct showed they hated His word. Proverbs 1:7,22,29,30 – Foolish people despise wisdom and instruction. They hate knowledge and despise reproof, because they will not listen to His teaching (vv 25,30). Their hatred is not open, deliberate antagonism; it is simply a failure to appreciate truth enough to obey it. Again, note who is guilty of sinful hatred. Our society thinks that the person who seeks to correct sinners and lead them to the light is guilty of hate. The media repeatedly characterizes people who speak against homosexuality as full of hate. People who read our web site often accuse us of speaking from hatred because our articles rebuke sin. But God says the person with sinful hatred is the person who resents teaching that shows people their error, or people who simply do not obey what God says. All such constitutes hatred of God’s word. [Leviticus 26:14,15; 1 Thessalonians 5:20; Psalms 107:11; Leviticus 26:43; Numbers 15:31; 2 Samuel 12:9,10; Ezekiel 16:59; 17:16-19; 20:13-24; Amos 2:4; Proverbs 5:12,13; 12:1; 13:13; 15:5,10,32; 23:9; Nehemiah 2:19; Isaiah 30:1,12] C. Righteous People and Righteous Conduct Proverbs 29:27 – An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous. And he who is upright is an abomination to the wicked. Someone might think it would make sense to hate wicked people, but why would anyone hate good people? Again, we will see there may be several reasons. Some people resent goodness, because it shows they are wrong. Micah 3:2,9 – Some people hate good and love evil. They abhor justice. Good people don’t hate goodness. People hate good when they themselves are evil and when they love being evil. They practice what is wrong and they don’t want to change. John 15:18-21 – The world hates Jesus’ followers for the same reasons it hated Him, and it will treat us like it treated Him. They hate Jesus’ disciples because they are not like the world and because they do not know the Father. [17:14; 1 John 3:13] People tend to resent anything significantly different from what they are, whether better or worse. We can see why people would resent evil conduct: criminals, terrorists, etc. But they also resent people who live significantly better than they do, because it exposes their evil. Luke 6:22 – Men will hate Jesus’ followers, exclude them, revile then, and cast out their name as evil. I remember a final exam I had in high school freshman algebra. Afterward, I overheard one girl say to another, “Do you know some dummy went and got 99% on the final. He ruined the whole curve!” Likewise, people resent those who try to live really good lives. People act as though God will grade “on the curve.” If everybody’s bad, then they think they have an excuse for their evil. “Everybody does it.” Nobody’s any better, so God will just have to make allowances. But if some people are really good, they “ruin the curve.” They prove that other people could live good lives too, and there’s no excuse for those who don’t. The proper response when we observe goodness in others is, not to resent it, but to learn from it and imitate it. God will not tolerate or excuse those who resent goodness in others. Some people resent good people who rebuke their sins. Amos 5:10 – They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly. This is the same attitude that leads people to resent God’s word: it tells them they are wrong, and they don’t want to change. Likewise, they resent good people who tell them they are wrong. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – People despise what is good (v3) when they themselves practice evil: lovers of themselves and of money, proud, unholy, unloving, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. When people don’t love God and that which is good, it is because they love other things, including pleasure and all kinds of evil. In short, people hate good people for the same reasons they hate God and His word. They are wrong. They don’t want to change. And they don’t want to be told they are wrong. Note again that the world resents those who rebuke evil, even when they have real concern for the lost. Society often accuses such people of hatred. But the people whom God accuses of sinful hatred are those who resent the good people and oppose those who speak truth. Those are the ones who are really guilty of sinful hatred. [Matthew 10:22; 24:9; Psalms 34:21; 51:17; 105:25; Proverbs 9:8; 29:10; 1 Corinthians 11:22; 1 John 2:9,11; 3:15; 4:20] D. Other People Sometimes people sin because they hate other people. Consider some kinds of people we should not hate: Family members We might think people would not hate the own family, but hatred is often most extreme and most common among family members. Genesis 27:41 – Because Jacob tricked Isaac to receive his blessing, Esau hated Jacob and sought to kill him. Genesis 37:4-8 – Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. Proverbs 15:20 – A foolish man despises his mother. Many children resent and despise their parents especially in their teenage years. [23:22] We often hear of family members who quarrel, fight, do violence, and even kill one another. But hatred is not just active, conscious animosity. To fail to treat our family with love is hatred in the sense of a lack of love. [2 Samuel 13:15,22] The poor or the rich Some resent the poor. Others resent the rich. Proverbs 19:7 – The poor man is hated even by his own brothers. His friends abandon him even if he pleads with them. People don’t want to help poor people, so they may resent them; or at least they do not love enough to help. [14:20; 1 Corinthians 11:22] 1 Timothy 6:2 – Servants should not despise their masters. Those who lack wealth or possessions may resent and envy the rich, who have what we wish we had. We should show care and concern for others regardless of their wealth or social status. Above all, we should seek to teach them so they can be saved. The sick or disabled Galatians 4:13,14 – Though Paul had a physical infirmity, the Galatians did not despise or reject him, but treated him as they would treat Jesus. Jesus said that the way we treat the sick, the poor, and the needy is the way we treat Him (Matthew 25:31-46). It is easy to resent the inconveniences or demands that are made of us by sick people. We don’t like being around their deformity or ailment. We may resent the fact they can’t contribute to society and we have to care for them. Whether we are openly antagonistic or just unwilling to care for them as we should, either constitutes a lack of love and therefore hatred. The young or the old Just as we may resent the poor or the sick, we may resent the elderly or the young. 1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth. Proverbs 23:22 – Do not hate your mother when she is old. The young may irritate us with their foolish mistakes and their inability to work. We may resent their naughtiness or the fact we are responsible to care for them. Such attitudes lead to child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. The elderly may irritate us with their feebleness or inability to care for themselves or to work. We may resent their forgetfulness or unreasonableness. Often they need our help with health or financial problems. Whether we are knowingly bitter or just negligent and indifferent, either is a lack of love and therefore hatred. Other races or nationalities Genesis 43:32 – Egyptians considered it an abomination to eat with Hebrews. John 4:9 – Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Attitudes like this hindered Jews in the early church from trying to save Gentiles. So today people may hate people of other races or nationalities. Again, this may take the form of open animosity or it may simply involve neglect: unwillingness to help with needs or to teach the gospel or to associate in the same congregation. All such involves lack of love and therefore hatred. Sinners and those who mistreat us Luke 18:9-13 – The Pharisee illustrated people who trust in their own righteousness and despise others. He bragged in prayer about how much better he was than sinners. But he failed to see his own sins, while the publican acknowledged his sins and plead for mercy. Leviticus 19:17,18 – Instead of taking vengeance or holding a grudge, we should rebuke a neighbor. Do not hate him, but love your neighbor as yourself. Note again that hate is a failure to love. It is easy to hate someone who sinned against us, but instead we should help them to repent. And note again that rebuking people is not necessarily hatred or self-righteousness. Instead, God says we ought to rebuke people instead of hating them. To let a sinner stay in sin is hatred. To sincerely help him to repent and be saved is love. [Matthew 5:43,44; Luke 6:27; Job 31:29] People in general Titus 3:3 – Sins committed by the foolish and disobedient include hateful and hating one another. Hatred of people is wrong in general. Galatians 5:20 – Hatred is listed as a work of the flesh for which people will not inherit the kingdom of God (v21). Proverbs 14:21 – He who despises his neighbor sins. Again, this hatred can take the form of open animosity, wishing to harm someone or to see them harmed. Or it can simply be a lack of love – a failure to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Observations We should desire all people to have what is truly good for them, not what is harmful to their souls or well-being. However, opposing and rebuking sin out of sincere concern for the souls of the lost is not hatred. It is done to help people be saved. Nor is it hatred to hope that evildoers will properly be punished by those in authority (criminals, children who disobey parents, etc.), because that too is best for them and for everyone involved. So far we have studied only part of the story. Next we will study passages that command us to hate all kinds of sin and wickedness. Just as the Bible tells us what to love and what not to love, so it teaches us what to hate and what not to hate. So people today are mistaken when they loudly accuse those who rebuke sin of being guilty of hate. In fact, they themselves are guilty of improper hate, because they hate the truth taught in God’s word. Further study will show that they also fail to hate what God says they ought to hate. But what about us? Are we guilty of improper hatred? Do we neglect to love God, His word, righteous people who serve Him, or other people around us. Do we need to repent of hatred? II. Things We Should Hate When people accuse those who rebuke sin of being guilty of hatred, they speak as if hatred is always bad. But is love always good and hate always bad? Do people who say such things really love everything and hate nothing? Is everybody guilty of an improper hatred every time they speak out against something? Do these people never speak out against anything? If they do, are they guilty of “hate speech”? When they speak out against hatred, does that make them guilty of a “hate crime”? Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is “a time to love and a time to hate.” God says it is proper to hate some things. Whether we should hate or love depends on what we are talking about. Some things should be hated and others should be loved. In truth, everybody hates and speaks against some things, and rightly so. In studying for this lesson, although I did not specifically count, I found about as many passages that list things we should hate as passages that list things we should not hate. We are commanded to hate just about as often as we are commanded not to hate – it all depends on what you’re talking about. Consider some things God hates and expects us to hate: A. Violence and Murder Proverbs 6:16-19 – Immediately we see seven things God hates and abominates (and this is not a complete list). Included are hands that shed innocent blood. Psalms 11:5 – God hates the one who loves violence. Note it: God hates what some men love! Psalms 5:5,6 – He hates all workers of iniquity. He abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. So God hates all violence and shedding of blood that men commit against innocent people. When people accuse others of hatred because they speak out against evil, ask them about violence. Do those people hate violence and murder, or do they love it? What about terrorism? If they speak out against it, should they be accused of “hate speech” or “hate crimes”? And if people can understand why God hates murder and why it is proper to hate murder, then they ought to be able to understand why Christians hate abortion: because abortion is shedding the blood of innocent human babies – innocent human beings. [Jeremiah 7:9,10; Ezekiel 8:17; 35:6] B. Stealing, Greed, and Business Dishonesty Deuteronomy 25:13-16 – Unfair measurement is a way of cheating people in business – you measure a product so as to give people less than what they paid for. It is a form of stealing. All who do such things, and all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 28:16 – He who hates covetousness (greed) will prolong his days. Proverbs 15:27 – He who is greedy for gain troubles his house, but he who hates bribes will live. That includes government corruption. So God says we should hate greed and bribery. What about people who say it is hatred to speak against things other people do? Many people who say such things are politicians. Do they hate greed, stealing, and bribery – government corruption – or do they love such things? Whether they practice these things or don’t practice them, either way they speak against them. Does that make them guilty of improper hatred? Should such speech be outlawed as “hate speech” or “hate crimes”? If they don’t hate stealing, greed, and bribery, they should hate them, and it would be proper if they did. God hates such practices. Do we? [Jeremiah 7:9,10] C. Lying and Deceit Proverbs 6:16-19 – The list of things God hates include a lying tongue and a false witness who speaks lies. Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are his delight. Psalms 119:163 – The psalmist says, “I hate and abhor lying, but I love your law.” Note: whether we should hate or love depends on what we are talking about. Psalms 5:6 – God will destroy those who speak falsehood. He abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. So God teaches us to love truth but to hate lying and deceit. What about people who say it is hatred to speak against things other people do? Do they speak out against lying and deceit, or do they love such things? Whether they practice such things or not, either way they profess to be against them. Does that make them guilty of improper hatred? Should such speech be outlawed as “hate speech” or “hate crimes”? If they don’t hate lying and deceit, they should hate them, and it would be proper if they did. God hates such practices. Do we? [Proverbs 13:5; 8:7; Zechariah 8:17; Jeremiah 7:9,10] D. Pride Proverbs 6:16-19 – The first thing in God’s list of abominations is a proud look. Proverbs 8:13 – The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride, arrogance, and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate. Proverbs 16:5 – Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord. Though they join forces, none shall go unpunished. God hates pride, arrogance, and haughtiness. We should too. What about people who say it is hatred to speak against things other people do? Do they speak out against haughtiness and arrogance, or do they love such things? In truth, many of them are elitists who think arrogantly and haughtily; but whether they practice such things or not, either way they profess to be against them. Does that make them guilty of improper hatred? Should such speech be outlawed as “hate speech” or “hate crimes”? If they don’t hate pride and arrogance, they should hate them, and it would be proper if they did. God hates such attitudes. Do we? E. Idolatry One of the practices toward which God most frequently states His hatred is idolatry: worship of false gods. Deuteronomy 7:25,26 – Carved images of gods were an abomination to the Lord. God’s people should not bring idols into their home, but must utterly detest and utterly abhor them. How can such statements be harmonized with the concept that God’s people should love everything and hate nothing? We must utterly detest and utterly abhor images of gods. Psalms 31:6 – I have hated those who regard vain idols; but I trust in the Lord. Note again that the reason God’s people hate the practice of idolatry is that we trust in the true God. It’s what we are for that leads us to be against the opposite. 1 Peter 4:3,4 – People of the world (Gentiles) participate in various evils, including abominable idolatries. They think it strange that Christians do not do the same and so “speak evil of us.” God hates the worship of idols and expects us to hate it too. What about people who say it is hatred to speak against things other people do? Do they speak out against idolatry, or do they love it? In truth, many of them probably don’t care either way. If they did speak against it, should such speech be outlawed as “hate speech” or “hate crimes”? But the passages help explain the real problem. People “speak evil of us” accusing us of things like “hate,” when they agree with certain practices and “think it strange” that we don’t participate in them. The problem is not that we are guilty of improper hatred because we oppose sin. The problem is that other people agree with the practice and seek some way to defuse our opposition to it. But if people don’t hate idolatry, they should hate it, and it would be proper if they did. God hates idolatry. Do we? [Leviticus 18:26-30; 26:30; Deuteronomy 27:15; 12:31; 20:18; 32:16; Jeremiah 32:34,35; 44:4,22; 13:27; 16:18; 7:9,10; 30; Ezekiel 5:11; 6:11; 7:4-9,20; 8:6-17; 14:6; 16:22-59; 20:7ff; 1 Kings 11:5,7; 21:26; 2 Kings 16:3; 21:2,11; 23:13,24; 2 Chronicles 15:8; Isaiah 44:19] F. False Teaching and False Religion What is true of idolatry is also true of all religious error and false practice. God hates and opposes everything the leads people to practice religious error. Proverbs 21:27 – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with wicked intent. Sacrifices are wicked when they are not offered in harmony with God’s teachings, or when they are offered by a person who is not serving God in his daily life, or when they are not offered sincerely with a true desire to please and honor God. All such is false religion and God calls it an abomination. [15:8; 28:9] Jeremiah 7:9,10 – People steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, and worship false gods, then think they can worship God and be delivered to commit all these abominations. Note that nearly everything we have studied is here called an abomination. But the specific abomination here is false teaching that deceives people into thinking they can do all these things and God will still accept them. Proverbs 17:15 – He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. God hates false teaching that says good people are doing wrong or bad people are doing good. God hates false religion and false teaching and expects us to hate them too. What about people who say it is hatred to speak against things other people do? Do they ever disagree with other people religiously? Again, some of them probably don’t care either way. But many of them do defend their practices on the basis of religion, including homosexuality and abortion. When they defend their practice on the basis of religion and say people who disagree are religiously wrong, are they guilty of “hate speech” and “hate crimes”? Why is it that only people who oppose practices religiously are guilty of “hate speech,” but those who defend them religiously are not? Here again we get to the real root of the problem. Some people hold to false beliefs. The real problem is not that we are guilty of improper hatred because we oppose sin. The problem is that other people justify sin and get upset when we teach the truth. But God says that religious error and false teaching are abominations. Is that what we believe? [Proverbs 24:24; Isaiah 1:13,14] G. Sexual Immorality Jeremiah 7:9,10 – The abominations that Judah committed included adultery. Malachi 2:16 – God hates divorce. Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as with a woman he commits an abomination. God hates the practice of adultery and homosexuality, just as He hates all these other sins we have listed. What about people who say it is hatred to speak against these things? Do they view adultery and homosexuality as abominations or do they love them? Most of them might not openly defend adultery, but they will defend homosexuality. If they speak against adultery, are they guilty of “hate speech” and “hate crimes”? If not, then why accuse us of improper hatred when we oppose homosexuality? But the passages again help explain the real root of the problem. The real problem is not that we are guilty of improper hatred because we oppose sin. The problem is that other people justify sin and get upset when we teach the truth. But God says adultery and homosexuality are abominations. Is that what we believe? [Ezekiel 22:11; 33:26; 1 Kings 14:24] H. All Sin God says we should hate sin of all kinds.
Old Testament:Psalms 5:5 – You (God) hate all workers of iniquity. Proverbs 6:16-19 – The list of things God hates includes a heart that devises wickedness and feet that are swift in running to evil. Any form of evil is included among what God hates. Psalms 97:10 – You who love the law, hate evil. It is a command! Those who do not hate evil, do not love God’s word! Psalms 119:128 – I consider all God’s precepts to be right. I hate every false way [v104]. Note again the contrast. The reason we hate evil is that we love its opposite. The more we love one, the more we hate the other. These are just a few of the many passages that teach us to hate evil. [Psalms 26:5; 14:1; 15:1,4; 36:4; 101:3; 119:113; 139:22; Proverbs 3:32; 8:13; 29:27; 11:20; 12:8; 15:26; Ezekiel 18:12-24; Zechariah 8:17]
New Testament:Some may point out that we have studied many Old Testament passages. Could it be that hating evil is just an Old Testament idea? Does Jesus teach the same in the New Testament? Hebrews 1:9 – Jesus was anointed by God because He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. Jesus Himself believed and practiced everything that we have read about hating evil. And God honored Him for it. [Psalms 45:7] Romans 12:9 – Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Hating evil is a New Testament command, just as in the Old Testament. And again the reason we abhor evil is that we cling to its opposite. [Amos 5:15] Revelation 2:6,15 – Jesus commended Christians who hated false doctrines and evil conduct that Jesus also hated. [Titus 1:16; Revelation 21:8,27] What we hate are people’s evil “ways.” Proverbs 15:9 – The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves him who follows righteousness. What God hates (and we should hate) about people is their wicked “ways” – the sinful things they do. Because we oppose error and because many passages talk about hating sinners, sometimes people think that we hate the people themselves. But we already learned we should love all people, including sinners and those who mistreat us. How do we harmonize these ideas? What God wants us to hate is people’s sinful character or conduct. “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” We love their souls, wanting them to change and be saved. But we hate and oppose sinful things they do. Specifically, nothing here should be viewed as justifying taking personal vengeance or individually taking it on ourselves to do violence or physical harm to punish anyone for their conduct. Remember, violence is something God hates! But sinful conduct of all kinds is what God hates, and what we should hate. We teach the truth, because we love souls and hope people will see their error and change.
ConclusionWhen people accuse others of hatred for speaking out against certain practices, the practices being discussed usually include homosexuality and abortion – both of which were once illegal in most places in the USA within our lifetime! Everybody spoke against them (if they spoke at all). Nobody was accused of “hate speech” or a “hate crime” to speak against them! How can it be that, in a single lifetime, speaking against an act changes from something everybody knew should be done to a hate crime? Do these people really believe that every time anybody speaks out against anything, he is guilty of “hate speech”? Do they think they are guilty of a “hate crime” every time they speak out against anything? Of course not. The consequence of their view is that nobody could ever speak against anything. But even they speak against some things. Then how do they know that everybody who speaks against homosexuality is guilty of an improper hatred? The truth is they know better than to say the things they do! Whether they consciously realize it or not, they are part of a deception. When they speak against what they oppose, they defend that as “freedom of speech.” When we speak against what we oppose, they call it a “hate crime”! They know it is not always wrong to speak against practices. So why do they accuse us of hatred? It’s a psychological trick, a form of manipulation and intimidation. By accusing us of hate: 1) They hope to make us feel guilty and keep quiet. Christians are supposed to love, not hate (they think). So if they can convince us that speaking against evil is hate, we will hush. 2) They hope to discredit us in the eyes of others. They believe people in general are opposed to “hate.” So if they can make it look like we are guilty of hate, people won’t want to stand with us. 3) They are preparing the groundwork for persecution of those who speak against homosexuality and other immorality. First they convince people it is “hate” just to speak against these practices. Then they pass laws to penalize “hate speech” as a “hate crime.” Then if we won’t hush, we get thrown in jail or fined. This is not imagination. It’s already happening in other nations. But this all follows if they can convince people that speaking against evil is “hate speech,” even though they must know it really is not true! So we have learned that everyone hates. Good people hate evil practices, and evil people hate good practices. So whose hatred is wrong? Good people hate and speak against the practices that God hates and speaks against. They are just imitating God and obeying His word. But evil people love what God hates, and they try to silence and punish those who obey God’s command to oppose evil. What you hate depends on whether or not you believe in God and His word. Do you hate what God hates? Do you love what God loves?