Friends, I hope that after you have read my title of this weeks blog that you have kept reading! I realize that the word HATE is not a socially correct word to use. I further realize that it is not a very nice “Christian” word to use either!
I know that it can be misused, overused and used with little or no thought. I also believe that it can be used quite appropriately and accurately if understood properly!
One of my favorite stories of my sister-in-law and I raising our children together when they were young is the story of my niece, who happens to be the youngest of all five of our children combined. She was sitting down one evening with all of us at the dining room table at my mother-in-law‘s to have dinner. My sister-in-law had “outlawed“ the word HATE with her children. I agreed with her on this, it is a very harsh word and children rarely understand the true meaning of it. My niece sat down quietly and politely at the dining room table with all of us already seated there. She looked at the food in the middle of the table and began to pound her little toddler fists firmly on the table and repeat in a very loud voice,” I really, really, really, really DON’T LOVE this food!”
Now, while she gets incredible points for obedience, her meaning was crystal clear! She HATED The food on the dinner table!
The dictionary definition of HATE is,
“to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for, or extreme hostility toward; DETEST.”
To put this into terms that we can relate to and swallow, it would be “to hate the enemy.” And I do, truly do, HATE the enemy of our souls, the devil! And “to hate bigotry.” And I truly do!
To give hate a biblical definition, the Bible puts it this way: Paul says in Romans,
“Hate what is evil, and cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9.
Given this definition, we must understand what is truly evil in God’s eyes, and hate it, while also understanding what is truly good, and cling to it!
In our human nature, this is not easy to do. We allow personal preferences–the way we were raised, our likes, our priorities–to become in our eyes and by our standards what is “good!” And on the flip side of that, we allow our fears and our misunderstandings to become things we actually hate. For example, I hate going to the dentist! Now while I am sure most people would agree with me, there are some who don’t mind it. But in reality, going to the dentist isn’t something to hate, because it produces a good outcome that is for my benefit. Me not liking going to the dentist is not actually hating it. It is just a very strong dislike for something that is not pleasant, but will produce a good outcome for my life.
I have used the word “hate” about the dentist most of my life. But if I am putting it into biblical terms, I do not actually hate it, because I am grateful for the fact that it ultimately fixes my teeth, makes me healthy, and eventually relieves pain. Those are all good things!
So back to when my niece used the phrase, “I really really really don’t love it,” was fairly accurate! The food on the table wasn’t to her liking. It wasn’t her preference or what she wanted to eat. She didn’t even know the food was good for her. She just didn’t like the taste. Even though she would have preferred ice cream and cookies, her loving parents knew this would not produce a healthy outcome for her little body.
This brings us to our spiritual nature and the Holy Spirit of God that we have, as believers, working through us. In His strength this is easier to do. Though God doesn’t always spell out what we are to hate in every detail, through His word we can discern what is evil, and what we are actually to hate. For example, we are to hate child sex trafficking. Why? Because it deeply harms children, exploits them mercilessly, and (at least potentially) ruins their lives. Killing innocent people who are non-combatants is evil. Slandering someone’s character falsely is evil. As Jesus says in Matthew 18, for example,
“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6.
Here is an example of Jesus hating evil, and calling that person into God’s righteous judgment.
IT IS OKAY TO HATE WHAT GOD HATES!
Think about the things that you hate.
Does God also hate them?
If He doesn’t hate them, you may have to rethink and rephrase what you “really really really don’t love.”
Speak Truth Love