Understanding how, when and why to hate as a Christian
It was just a few weeks ago the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked a firestorm of vitriol and reaction throughout our country. What happened, what didn’t happen, who reacted and how - all of these things became the fuel for more protests and more protests against the protests and reaction of a very negative kind everywhere you looked. Let us be abundantly clear on one point – those who would paint themselves as any form of supremacist, white or otherwise, are servants of a deep and destructive darkness. Period. Those who take the law into their own hands and use violence and threats as their primary tools to eradicate all whom they consider supremacists are also choosing to burrow down that dark hole as well. NONE of this is good! All of this provokes hatred, and rightfully so. Shouldn’t we as Christians hate such evil? Yes we should. The bigger question here, however, is HOW do we engage our hatred for evil in a Christlike manner?
We usually don’t think about “engaging” hatred; instead, we generally assume that hatred engages itself. In a sense we see hatred as its own entity - alive with a voracious appetite for expression and even destruction. This is where our whole issue with hatred begin,s because what is alive with that voracious appetite is our emotions, and our emotions can easily warp and ruin any good that can come from hatred. So, wait a minute – can good really come from hatred? Absolutely, but (and here is where you really have to pay attention) the good that can come from hatred NEVER comes from emotionally driven hatred! Ever.
The fact is, there are two types of hatred. First there is what we will call “destructive hatred.” This is the kind of hatred we see playing out all of the time. It is where listening and reason are of no consequence and shouting down - or in some cases beating down - those who are the object of your hatred is the only objective. Our emotions rule here and we are driven to bury their presence, destroy their ideology and break their influence at any cost. This kind of hatred can only break things, hurt people and destroy relationships, and it has no redeeming value to speak of. Sadly, this is how we best recognize hatred and this is what we have come to expect of hatred.
There is another way. There is another approach to hatred that works with an entirely different set of ground rules and motivation. We will call this “productive hatred” and its basis can actually be found and confirmed in the Bible. This kind of hatred is against evil and not people. God himself displayed this kind of hatred several times in Scripture, and Jesus was also a great example of how this kind of hatred not only works but works out for the benefit of all. The bottom line is, we desperately need to learn how to engage this “productive hatred” and how to abandon and reject all forms of destructive hatred. Please check out our August 28, 2017 podcast, “But It’s Wrong! Can’t I Hate It?” and give yourself the opportunity to learn how hatred works for good or evil and to see where you stand in terms of your own expressions and objects of hatred. Understanding hatred can change your life as well as the lives of those around you!
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