Cut on the 10 o’clock news and you can’t help but see how hate-filled the world is. One country against another, one race group hating another, one political group talking hateful half-truths about another. You could really get the feeling that some folks really like hating someone else. The more mindful we are of this, the more natural it seems. Whatever happened to our grandparents’ advice: “You can’t hate people, but you can hate their ways”?
The Bible has one fundamental word about hating people: don’t.
Hate is part of love. It’s not to be done away with or overcome. God is Love, and God hates evil. The devil is conning folks to make them believe that it’s a detestable thing, since he wants selfishness and rejecting others to prevail. Jesus said that you can either hate one master and love another or be devoted to one master and hate the other (Matthew 6:24).
Those who have God’s love do the former, those who don’t have the love of God do the latter. Many writers remind us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that should be our motivation. The hatred kind of exists in the bad space of loving our neighbor, but loving God more. It aids in displaying God’s grace, kindness, glory, and forgiveness through us to our neighbors when our neighbors are still living in sin.
If someone says, “I love God,” but detests another Christian, that person is a liar. If we don’t love folks we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? And God himself has instructed that we must love not only Him but our Christian sisters and brothers as well (1 John 4:20-21).
Proverbs 10:12 says “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses.”