Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 26, 2019

Is Hate Always Wrong?

(3 Minute Read)

Today we constantly hear condemnations of hate crimes and hate speech. Some of the condemned actions or words are truly sins against another person, but some are trivialities.

Has the very word “hate” been hijacked?

Is hate always wrong? Is hate ever appropriate?

Could there be such a thing as Biblical hate? How does hate mesh with love?

An astonishing statement about love and hate is in the New Testament. In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote this:
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:9-10)

Did the unexpected twist in those verses startle you? Did you notice a very surprising aspect of Paul’s words?

Right in the midst of commanding followers of Christ to love and right in the middle of describing what genuine love looks like, Paul commands:
Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Genuine Love

Abhorring evil is part of genuine love! “Love” that accepts and affirms evil is not true love; it is hypocritical.

It’s quite ironic today that people castigate believers for being hypocrites and yet they want love to be hypocritical through accepting wickedness.

Much of today’s campaign against hate is misplaced. We are commanded to hate evil as part of love. We are commanded to steadfastly cling to what is good. We are commanded to love and respect (honor) people. Hating the evil behavior a person does is not at all the same as hating the person.

Abhorring and hating the evil deeds a person does is part of genuinely loving the person. To “love” a person while accepting his unrighteousness is hypocritical according to Paul.

Today people confuse acceptance and affirmation with love. If for moral reasons you do not accept and do not affirm a person’s lifestyle, you are often accused of hate. This accusation is wrong.

To follow Paul’s command, love includes abhorring evil.

Paul makes this same point to the church at Corinth in his famous Love chapter.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.
(1 Corinthians 13:6)

Love never accepts, celebrates, or rejoices over evil. Love celebrates truth!

Every human being is made in the image of God and therefore deserves love and respect. But that does not mean all behaviors should be accepted and affirmed. Evil ones should be hated while still loving and honoring the person.

Jesus Models Genuine Love

Jesus modeled this distinction well in His life.
And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his [Matthew’s] house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:15-16)
And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)

The scribes and Pharisees abhorred tax collectors and sinners and would not associate with them under any circumstances. But Jesus continually socialized with many sinners as they followed Him throughout Galilee and Judea. And the Pharisees criticized Jesus and His disciples for doing so.

These tax collectors and sinners clearly felt comfortable with Jesus, the most upright and morally strict person who ever lived. He respected them as people made in God’s image and associated with them. He was kind to them. But He did not accept their sin. He still saw that they were sinners who needed to repent of their evil deeds.

Jesus was able to condemn sin and accept the sinner. This is genuine love. This is Biblical love as described by Paul and as modeled by Jesus Himself. This is the love that leads people to repentance.

Two Errors

Today disciples of Jesus tend to make one of two errors:
1. Like the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, we condemn not only evil deeds but also the people doing them. We properly abhor the evil, but we fail to love and honor the sinner.
2. Like many today, we accept the most perverse forms of evil in order to “love” the doer. In this case, we correctly love the person, but we fail to abhor their evil deeds. This is not genuine love without hypocrisy as the Apostle Paul described it.

The Biblically correct thing to do per Romans 12:9-10 is:
– Love and honor people;
– Hate, abhor, and oppose evil;
– Hold fast to righteousness.
These three should be done simultaneously without apology all day every day.

Questions to Ponder

1. Which is easiest and which is hardest — to love people, to hate evil, or to adhere to what is good?
2. As sinners we all are bent toward accepting evil. How do you cultivate “abhorrence of evil” instead?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 26, 2019 A.D.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:9-10)

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  1. Good stuff


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