May 17, 2017
God Loves Hate!
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, love what is good. Romans 12:9
“Oh, you’re just a hater,” says the one who loves his sin and seeks to deflect all righteous criticism and loving correction. And he would be half right, if he were speaking to a Christian whose love is genuine. (Note: “genuine” is a translation the Greek, “without hypocrisy”. The world labels Christians “hypocrite” if they claim to love but still have hate in their hearts. The opposite is true–we are hypocrites if we say we love, but do not hate evil, because it is contrary to love.) Real love, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, does not “rejoice in wrongdoing”. In this section of Romans 12 he teaches how we are to regard our fellow Christian. All the verbs point to loving and supporting one another.
Except this one: Hate. We hate what is evil, because we hate what evil is doing to those we love. If we truly love a person, or people in general, or a nation, we cannot treat sin with apathy or a “hands-off” approach. That doesn’t mean we come at people with a judgmental attitude. We must always remember that we also have our own sins to hate as well.
But it is true that other people, as well as we ourselves, are often blind to or desensitized to the failings within. That’s why Paul also wrote in this chapter that we are to think of ourselves with “sober judgment”. That means we will be honest about our own sins, and with gentleness and patience we will help others see the harm sin is doing to them.
This world says not to hate anyone’s sins. That is nice, but it is not good. It will eventually lead us to call evil good so that we can be nice all the time, having a numb conscience and hypocritical love for a fellow believer caught in hurtful sin.
Genuine love will always hate evil enough to confront it. The cross reveals that God is the greatest lover and biggest hater of all. So much does he hate what is evil that He loved us enough to take human flesh and die to remove evil’s power to condemn us. Yet if we continue to ignore, accept, and not repent of evil, it retains its power over us. So pray that God may make your love for Him and for your fellow believer so genuine that you will genuinely hate the evil that harms your neighbor and yourself. If we don’t hate what is evil, we don’t truly love what is good.