We all know that love is a great theme throughout the entire Bible, with some of the most famous verses focusing on this very thing:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …” (John 3:16).
“Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jesus speaking, John 13:34).
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
If I “have not love, I am nothing” (Paul speaking, 1 Corinthians 13:2).
The Scriptures actually state that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), which sums up the very essence of his character.
Love is an incredibly powerful force, producing almost supernatural results when people sacrifice their all because of love.
But love is not the only powerful force mentioned in the Bible and attributed to God.
There are things that God hates as well – injustice, corruption, murder and rape, just to mention a few – and he hates them to the very core of his being.
The book of Proverbs puts it like this: “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
To repeat: These are things God hates.
Of course, there is an ugly, destructive hatred that is the exact opposite of God’s character. That kind of hatred is evil, the kind we are to reject and expose, the kind that Jesus renounced (see Matthew 5:43).
But there is a hatred that is holy, that loathes the evil things people do, that detests injustice, that is not indifferent toward acts of cruelty and oppression.
As the voice of Wisdom says in Proverbs, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).
If you are a churchgoing person (or if you attend synagogue regularly), may I ask you if you ever heard a message on the theme, “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil”? The answer is probably not.
Elsewhere in Proverbs we read that the righteous hate falsehood (13:5), bribes (15:27) and unjust gain (28:16).
Those who are godly find these things detestable, not appealing, reprehensible, not tempting. In contrast, those with divided hearts know they shouldn’t engage in such practices, but their carnality draws them in, while those with wicked hearts give themselves to these things without hesitation.
God wants us to serve him with undivided hearts, which means loving good and hating evil. As Paul wrote, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
Yet all too often our hatred of evil is lacking, which means our motivation to work against it will be lacking as well.
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How does a doctor feel about the cancer that has spread through the body of a 3-year-old boy?
How does a mother feel about the human traffickers that have kidnapped and sold her 12-year-old daughter for profit?
That’s how we should feel about evil deeds and practices, which is one reason the prophets of Israel were so consumed with their message: Their hatred of evil was intense.
That’s why they spoke with such passion. Injustice had to end.
I remember watching a powerful movie one time in which it looked like the bad guy was going to succeed by lying about the good guy, and in this particular movie, the bad guy was really bad – totally corrupt; totally ambitious; a plotter and a conniver; the kind of guy you wanted to see get caught and punished – and the good guy was a real hero.
I remember the frustration I felt as the plot unfolded and it looked like the good guy would be framed for what the bad guy did. And even though it was just a movie, it was so compelling and well-acted that, for that moment, the whole world felt out of whack to me. This cannot be! He can’t get away with it!
In the end, the bad guy was exposed and the good guy vindicated, but I think I felt more relief that evil was punished than that the story had a happy ending.
Hatred of evil is a very powerful force, and if we channel it properly, not with frustration and wrong attitudes but with a passion to see justice, we can be world changers.
I once heard a preacher say that he was almost as motivated to wipe the smile off the devil’s face as he was to put a smile on God’s face, and that’s not such a farfetched sentiment.
Sadly, all too often we are indifferent about evil, lulled to sleep by the drugs of materialism and entertainment and sports to the point that these things steal our passions, while the real life issues – be it the devastating effects of drug trafficking or the murderous acts of Islamic terrorists or Planned Parenthood’s merchandising of babies – barely get a yawn from us.
I highly recommend praying a prayer that I have often prayed over the years: “God, I ask you to break my heart with the things that break your heart. Shatter my indifference. And help me to love what you love and hate what you hate.”
Then wean yourself off the things that steal your passions (or determine to make a clean break from them if they are destructive addictions), meditate on the truths of the Scriptures, and prepare for a holy pain that will move you to action.
This is how many of the world’s greatest movements have been started: People got serious about being serious and decided that the time for apathy was over.
Have you reached that point in your life?
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