Haters Welcome

Somewhere along the way, in our politically-correct, touchy-feely, walk on eggshells, be-tolerant culture, it stopped being okay to hate. The word “hate” has actually become a banned word. No, there hasn’t been an official ban on the word, but no one is walking around talking about the things they hate.

We can be opposed to something. Resist something. Object to something. Politely disagree with someone. But what we cannot do, what we are told is unconscionable, is hating anything, because hating something means we are operating in black and white. Right or wrong. Good or evil.

The problem, however, is less and less people believe in the idea of good and evil. Black and white makes them uncomfortable. Truth makes them squirm. The in-betweeness of gray, is a much more comfortable place to dwell–the uncertainty of life, as it were.

But, I believe in right and wrong, Light and darkness. Good and evil. I believe in God and God hates. Oh, we don’t like acknowledging that fact. We would rather run a thick, black, permanent marker over those passages of scripture.

But He does. God hates and well, then, so do I.

Christians are suppose to be identified by their love for one another. Not their love for those outside the church even, but one another. If our love for the Body of Christ is to be our identifying characteristic, how then can we hate?

Because genuine love causes us to hate. The love of Christ compels us to hate the things that are not of Him. His love compels us to hate that which would tarnish His reputation or belittle His name. His love compels us to hate the things that draw us away from Him and the things which He Himself abhors.

And so I can freely say:

I hate murder.

I hate divorce.

I hate acts that harm children.

I hate sex trafficking.

I hate addiction.

I hate pornography.

I hate rape.

I hate the ugliness of pride, in myself and others.

I hate idolatry.

I hate violence.

I hate evil.

I hate…

No surprise, that most of these are the very things that according to scripture, God hates, as well.

And I know this, and I believe this, and yet even as I type these words, a part of me begins to rise up and object. A part of me, the part hat has been raised in this tolerant, mulit-cultural (crock) pot, feels resistant to the use of the word “hate.”

It feels so permanent, so final, so cruel, so un-loving. But one definition of hate says: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion. And I long to feel this way about the things God hates. I long to passionately dislike and feel an extreme aversion for that which is not of God.

It starts with recognizing that which He hates. It starts by dwelling on the things of God–fixing my mind on heavenly things, thereby drawing a deeper division between myself and the things that are not of God. It starts by not being afraid to use the word “hate” in the first place. It starts by loving that which He loves: justice and righteousness.

It starts by acknowledging that hate is not a bad word, because when we hate what the Lord hates, haters are welcome.

How do you feel about the word “hate”? What, if anything, do you actually hate? How can Christians best communicate a message of love for Jesus and others, but hate for things which are evil?

23 thoughts on “Haters Welcome”

  1. Well said, Nicole. I guess I’m a throwback. I’m one of those “ignorant, intolerant, southern males.” I use the word hate without shame. Not at all like the deluge of use for the word amazing. I reserve it for those things I truly do detest but I haven’t banned it. The core issue for many is to limit this word and it’s emotional weight with the prerequisite you have pointed to, I hate what God hates. I should do that because of Christ in me and because I recognize His profoundness in my life. In my little ole broke up weakness I stray into the “I hate that…” because it damages me somehow. That won’t fly.

    It’s strange in the world we live in, described very well here, the tolerance crowd seem to be the most intolerant.

    1. Ken, huh great insights. I like the distinction you drew between hating the things God hates versus hating that which personally hurts us. Very important difference. And man do I agree that those touting tolerance are often the least tolerant among us.

  2. I hate that some of us Christians act like the pharasis…and think that a buncha rules make us better…

    Grace is what we need…
    Love towards everyone is what we need…
    Jesus is all we need…
    Everything else falls into place…
    Jesus before rules…not rules before Jesus!

  3. I think one of the problems with the word “hate” and hate in general is that people (both Christians and non-Christians) tend to confuse hating people with hating things. For example, I hate abortion, but I don’t hate people who have had abortions, or people who identify themselves as pro-choice. Unfortunately, I’ve met people both inside the church and outside the church who believe that if you hate abortion, you also have to hate people who identify themselves as pro-choice.

    1. Travis, you are so right. People don’t understand how Christians can separate the act from the individual. Which I find strange, since that is how God responds towards us. He doesn’t begin to hate us, but rather that which separates us from Him.

      I think the biggest challenge is the gay-marriage debate. People, Christians and non-Christians alike, seem to believe that if you object to gay marriage, you must hate all gays. This one breaks my heart.

  4. I’ll comment on the commenters first, then the blog.. mmmmmmmk? good! (Like you can stop me anyway. muhahaha!)

    @Ken H: I was raised conservative Mennonite Bretheren. (Don’t ask, we’re pretty similar to Baptists though). Guilt and shame and stuff. I left home and decided to be “more tolerant”. Yet as the years go by (almost 34 or them by now) I’m becoming less tolerant again. My wife refers to me as “grumpy old man” (in jest of course). All this lead up for one thing.

    “It’s strange in the world we live in, described very well here, the tolerance crowd seem to be the most intolerant.”

    Well put sir, well put. I don’t know if I could have come up with that in a million years, but you NAILED it. So good.

    @Arny Grace, yes. Absolutely grace. But we do need rules. I wil NOT allow my step-kids to do something I think is goinig to harm them. They may see that as pharasy-like. Lacking in grace. Maybe lacking in love even. But it is BECAUSE I LOVE THEM. that I enforce rules. Not to “earn” their love, or to force them to be like me… but because I do not want them to come to harm of ANY form, and hopefully shaping them to be awesome adults that strive to be More loving, More faithful to God, More compassionate, and in all ways BETTER people then their parents (and step-dad).

    @Travis – You’re right. Most times, people assume that if I say I hate something (abortion for example) that I hate peple who are going to have one, or who have had one, or the people who perform them. Hating something is different from hating the people involved… but I think that’s because as humans we tie our identity into things. I love music, and certain bands. If someone says they hate that same band they’re probably not saying they hate the people in the band, but they hate the music they perform. Either way, it still stings a little because it feels like an attack – especially if I know the people in the band personally

    Finally, Nicole again you have this unique knack for poking Christianity in all the sore spots. Not out of spite or anger or even “hate”. But a strong desire to separate “christianity” from being a true follower of Christ. Which is probably good reason to say “I hate that Christians _____________________”

    1. Andrew, can I just say that your little closing few sentences to me were perhaps one of the best compliments I’ve received. I feel like you just nailed me! I never write out of anger or spite, but always to encourage (admonish really) those of us who call ourselves Christians to look more like Jesus. Thank you for that! I’m inspired and encouraged by your observation.

  5. I am right there with you. It feels so wrong to say hate, but the truth is that I do hate some things. Many are on your list. I don’t believe any include people. I think that is okay, but we are trained to think it isn’t.

    1. Craig, you are so right. It is as if we are trained n our thinking. Hate isn’t socially acceptable. Good thing I’m trying to care more about what God finds acceptable than society.

  6. Right on, Nicole!

    Psalm 97:10
    Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;
    He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

    Psalm 119:104
    From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

    Proverbs 8:13
    The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
    Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.

    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
    Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
    A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,
    A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

    Proverbs 13:5
    A righteous man hates falsehood.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1,8
    There is an appointed time for everything. A time to love and a time to hate.

    Amos 5:15
    Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate!

    We need to get fired up in love for people.

    We need to get fired up in hate for sin, because sin hurts people.

  7. I love how black and white the scriptures can sometimes be:

    Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
    Romans 12:9

    This also reminds me of the truth that our enemy is not flesh and blood. Of COURSE God does not call us to hate people. But in order to love them rightly, I must hate the evil that keeps them from true LOVE itself.

    God is love. 1 John 4:8b

    Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Habakkuk 1:13

    1. Katy, you said: “Of COURSE God does not call us to hate people. But in order to love them rightly, I must hate the evil that keeps them from true LOVE itself.” That about sums it up for me. Well said!

  8. I think we have an aversion to the word “hate” because like other emotions expressed by God, we don’t feel them like He feels them.

    When we think of jealousy, we think of the evil green monster. But that’s because it’s rooted in fear. Our jealousy looks nothing like God’s.

    In the same way, many times our hatred is rooted in fear. Then instead of actually hating the things that God hates, we hate the people that He loves. When you don’t love with perfect love (that casts out that fear), our emotions become soulish and not led by the spirit.

    We sing a song in my church that says, “I will love what He loves…and I will hate what He hates”. I want to do that. But only by the help of Holy Spirit. Because when I do it in my own strength, it looks ugly.

    1. Tony, great point! I wholeheartedly agree that very often (most of the time, in fact) when we hate it is because of fear. I agree too, that the Holy Spirit has to lead us in this, as in all things. We must be led by the Spirit–not in one area of our life or faith, but in all areas. His discernment is key to us hating that which God hates.

      That being said, I still believe that Christians are afraid to publicly hate. We are afraid of being seen as selfish, mean-spirited, rude, unkind. Yet, I’m not advocating a message of hate, but rather real love that separates that which is lovely and just, from that which is not…and then not being too timid to say it. When we love with great passion, by default, the things we hate (the things that prevent people from knowing God’s love) will also be made evident.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Great stuff on this topic.

  9. My view on it.

    It is NEVER ok to hate a person!
    You should ALWAYS HATE SIN!

    Not complicated or overly obtuse but simple. We are called to live in a world where there is a lot to hate but there is just as much to love. And yes my view on this is very Black and White!

  10. Thanks for the hard work, appreciate your candor and freshness. ‘Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.’ Romans 12:9 What is evil – not who is evil? It is so difficult to separate the evil that men do from the men, but as I am a forgiven person – I must love and forgive others. Only God is able to judge.
    may I use the odd article from your blog for our website/Enewsletter from time to time? Attribution and link will be included. Thanks again.

  11. Wow, if you hate all those things, you must REALLY hate the bible, because almost all of them are in there. Oh wait, you probably cherry pick the “sanitized, warm fuzzy” parts.

    1. Just because something is in the Bible does not mean God condones it. I’m no cherry picker either. I acknowledge the less than desirable, controversial, even ugly parts of the Bible because it is, in my opinion, the Word of God. And in loving Jesus Christ, I do not have the luxury of only choosing the warm and fuzzy parts. My faith isn’t convenient. It is challenging and living.

  12. I think in this country (US), society has twisted the meanings of the words “love” and “hate.” They call what God says is good, “evil,” and what God says is evil, “good.” Society calls perversion, “love,” and true love and morality are seen as intolerance. I enjoy reading your blog so much because it is refreshing!

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