By Steve Klein
The inspired wise man who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes said, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven… a time to love and a time to hate” (3:1, 8a). Most of us probably have a pretty negative view of hate. We think of it as a bad emotion. But in and of itself, hate is not any better or worse than love. Both love and hate have proper objects; they are both appropriate feelings to have toward certain things at certain times.
Sometimes love and hate are two sides of the same coin. Love for one thing might necessitate hate for some-thing else (cf. Matt. 6:24). That is the way it is with God and sin. If we love God, we must hate sin. The Psalmist said, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Ps. 97:10).
It is high time for those who claim to love God to start hating sin. We must hate it in ourselves and in others, and hate it with an intensity of passion that is equaled only by the intensity of our love for God.
Sin should not be hated merely as some abstract, vague concept, but as real and specific instances of transgression. That is to say, we are not only to hate the idea of sin, but also every occurrence of sin. The Bible is very clear about this. Many plain statements of Scripture command or exemplify hatred of specific sins. These passages need to be examined carefully. Each of us needs to ask himself, “Do I really hate this sin?”
Do I really hate pride, arrogance and a perverse mouth? Do we fully agree with the wise man who said, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Prov. 8:13)? Pride, arrogance and perverse speech are common sins in our society. We see them in politicians, sports figures, neighbors, and sometimes in ourselves. When we see our favorite basketball player or politician lifted up with pride and arrogance, spewing forth obscenities, do we hate it as we should?
Do I really hate lying? “A righteous man hates lying” (Prov. 13:5). All of us, both righteous and unrighteous, hate being lied to, but the question is, “Do you yourself hate lying?” Some may only hate lying if they are caught at it. The righteous man must loathe every instance of it in his life and in the lives of others.
Do I really hate taking God’s name in vain? In Psalm 139:20-22 the Psalmist says, “. . .Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.” There is not a day that goes by in which I do not hear someone take God’s name in vain. Expressions such as “Oh my God,” “God it” and just plain “God!” are some of the most frequently heard exclamations in the English language. Euphemisms for these expressions are very common as well. “Oh my Gosh,” “Oh my word,” “Gosh darn it,” “Golly” and “Gosh” are merely mild substitutes for the same phrases. Language does not become correct just because it is common. We must not allow continual exposure to this sin to dull our sensitivity to it. God is to be reverenced. His holy name is to be blessed (cf. Ps. 89:7; 103:1). God-fearing people should consistently abhor the practice of profaning God’s name.
Do I really hate covetousness? “He who hates covetousness will pro-long his days” (Prov. 28:16). The desire for what others possess is commonly depicted as a virtue in our materialistic culture. Covetousness is defined as unlawful desire for that which belongs to another. Rather than allowing cultural influences to lull us into accepting and participating in covetousness, we should hate covetousness with every fiber of our being.
Do I really hate violence? “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Ps. 11:5). Since the Lord hates the very soul of the one who loves violence, wouldn’t it be wise to completely remove any affection for violence from our hearts. Do you en-joy movies, television programs, or books that contain violence? Do you desire to solve problems at home, in the work place, among neighbors, or in the church through violence or threat of it? Do you hate violence, or do you love it?
Do I really hate false teaching? In Revelation 2:6 and 1:5, Jesus makes it plain that he hated the false teaching of the Nicolaitans, and that he expected church members to do the same. Can we honestly say that we really hate false doctrine when we refuse to “mark” and “avoid” those who teach it because they “have been our friends for years,” or they “are such kind and caring people”? Toleration of false teaching and those who teach it can scarcely be called hatred (cf. Rom. 16:17-18).
Hating evil is not un-Christ-like. It is most Christ-like. Jesus hated evil more than anyone ever hated anything. The book of Hebrews says of him, “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Heb. 1:9). Let us be like Christ; let us hate sin. To hate sin is know love, for love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).
Guardian of Truth XLI: 7 p. 7-8
April 3, 1997