“Hate? I thought Christians weren’t supposed to hate.” That may be a popular myth, but it does not square with the Bible. Brother Dub McClish mentioned this point in an October 23, 2016 bulletin article, but it deserves an expanded treatment. He brought up Psalm 97:10, which is a command: “You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.”
We are so accustomed to hearing, “God is love” (which is true) that it sounds odd that God would tell us to hate anything, but it’s not just anything we are to hate—we must hate evil (Amos 5:15). Why? First of all, evil separated man from God, which is not good for any person. Second, God must punish evil, as He did the great wickedness in the days of Noah (Gen. 6:5). While it is true that God will forgive us our sins, it is also the case that we must repent and give them up. God cannot tolerate evil forever; so hell is a place created for those who love sin more than God Himself.
Evil occurs in many forms, and God’s people ought to despise every manifestation of it. David wrote: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me” (Ps. 101:3). Those who fall away from God are a discouragement. How could they love the things of this world more than God? But some choose alcohol or some other drug over God. Maybe it’s the glorification of the flesh in immodest dress or in pornographic displays. Perhaps it is the pride that accompanies false doctrine. Whatever errors or immoralities a former believer chooses, we must declare hatred for that work.
Quite often, some brethren wonder why we emphasize false doctrine the way we do. The answer is found in Psalm 119:104. “Through your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.” It is through truth that we know God and please Him (John 8:31-32). Outside of truth stands error! Why don’t Christians often understand that point? It’s not that hard to comprehend. Believing error causes people to be lost! And that is just as true for Christians as unbelievers. Can we not all understand what Paul meant when he said, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men”? He had declared unto them the whole counsel of God so that they would know the truth and reject error (Acts 20:26-27). For that reason he also exhorted Timothy to take heed to himself and to his doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16; Rev. 2:15). What we believe saves us or condemns us.
For that reason we devoted our entire One Day Lectureship this year to current errors in the church (which will cause people to be lost). How many elders and preachers were concerned enough to come? Many brethren seem not to take the work of elders seriously when it comes to protecting the flock. They should be like the psalmist and hate every false way.
The writer considered this point important enough to repeat: “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:128). Solomon named some specifics, such as pride, arrogance, and a perverse mouth, but he also adds another reason why some may not hate as God does; they may simply not fear Him: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil…” (Pr. 8:13). The wise man links the two together. Do those who prefer to hear positive messages about love and self-esteem lack a fear of God? Why, then, do they not deal with those matters?
The Seven Things God Hates
These six things the Lord hates;
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look, A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
Solomon provides quite a list for all to consider. A proud look would be one that communicates to others, “You better not challenge me if you know what’s good for you.” Pride does far more damage to the one who possesses it than it does to others.
A lying tongue is almost common fare today, and most people even freely admit it. Obviously, the population does not take it nearly as seriously as God does. The psalmist says: “I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law” (Ps. 119:163). John wrote that “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). God hates dishonesty and will surely punish it.
Innocent blood probably denotes all who do not deserve to die. In other words, they were not put to death for any crime they committed. Like Naboth, whom Jezebel set up with false witnesses against him, some are not worthy of death. However, it is difficult to read this description without thinking of an abortion doctor employed by Planned Parenthood (or someone else), killing and removing an innocent life in the womb. It is hard to think of a more despicable person unless it would be those who finance them, such as various politicians. How could anyone conscientiously vote for a person who fits this category that God hates? Furthermore, that Planned Parenthood would harvest body parts from slain infants is unconscionable. These people should be jailed and tried—not given taxpayers’ dollars. One thing is certain—God shall deal with them as they deserve. Unfortunately, abortion has been a scourge upon America for more than 40 years, and we shall have to answer for it (Pr. 14:34). More than 60 million children have been put to death legally during this time. Not one has perished with God’s approval.
A heart that devises wicked plans recycles old plots and invents new ones. The history of the world is replete with examples of those who went forth to conquer—just for the sake of doing so. But individuals often try to get by with mischief in their personal lives as well. As Forensic Files illustrates, people plot murder all the time, thinking they will not be caught. However, God always knows, even if no court of law can prove it. Some cannot go to sleep at night unless they have devised some evil for the next day (Ps. 36:4).
Some develop evil plots; others use their feet to swiftly carry them out. They would not hasten to do something right. They would not use their feet to swiftly do a good deed for a neighbor, but they will joyously run to do mischief. What a sad set of priorities.
False witnesses were brought in to testify against the Lord. Not much tops that sin on the Scale of Despicability. They even knew that it would bring about His death, but they were so perverted that they did not
care. Sometimes women are brought in to testify against a man who could not possibly defend himself against charges of bad conduct that allegedly occurred 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Uncorroborated (and false) testimony nearly kept Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court. The woman who testified before a Senate committee described several unsavory actions—none of which could be proven or denied. The fact that she invited the alleged sexual pervert to speak at her college and even picked him up at the airport was irrelevant (somehow). A great man’s reputation was nearly destroyed. “Let not a slanderer be established in the earth…” (Ps. 140:11).
One who sows discord could be a whisperer and a talebearer, just as Iago was in Othello. Or he might be a false teacher, who certainly does separate brethren from the unity they once shared. In either case, it is a shame and a disgrace. Some seem to think that the church belongs to them instead of Christ, Who is the Head over the body. Once again, the fear of the Lord seems to be lacking.
God specifies some other bad behavior not included in the list just examined. Isaiah recorded His words: “For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery…” (61:8). Although robbery may not be a very high priority for police these days, nevertheless God hates it when someone takes what does not belong to him; it was part of His Ten commandments—right after the prohibitions against murder and adultery and right before warnings against bearing false witness and coveting.
God hates it when people steal the property of others. How many people today are defrauding the government, which means they are stealing from all taxpayers? Above all, God is not pleased when people rob Him (Mal. 3:8-10). People can rob God in the poor quality offerings they bring to Him; they can also rob Him of time in worship and in service.
God sent His prophets early each morning to tell the people: “Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!” (Jer. 44:4). What could that possibly be? The preceding verse spells it out. His people “went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know…” (v. 3). How ironic is it that Jehovah delivered them out of Egypt, but they worshiped and served other gods for hundreds of years! In doing so they provoked God to anger. He absolutely hated the abominations they committed, which included offering their children to false deities.
Hate Thy Neighbor?
How people treat others has always been of prime importance to God. Loving one’s neighbor as oneself is the second greatest commandment from the Law of Moses (Matt. 22:37-40); it appeared first in Leviticus 19:18. God expects His people to speak the truth to his neighbor, as well as execute proper judgment and justice (Zech. 8:16). He adds: “‘Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the Lord” (v. 17).
Perhaps another way of making this point is to say that God hates hypocrisy—whether it consists of phony devotion toward Him or whether a “follower” of His is acting hypocritically against a neighbor. When he mistreats others, he loves neither neighbor nor God.
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream (Amos 5:21-24).
What Some People Hate
A Christian will stand with God and hate the same things He does. They will hate evil in all its myriad expressions. People can tell a great deal about someone by observing what he loves. One can also discern much about someone by noticing what he hates. The ungodly hates the one who rebukes sin and abhors “the one who speaks uprightly” (Amos 5:10). Yes, they “hate good and love evil” (Micah 3:2). Did Jesus not affirm that the world hated Him because He testified that its works are evil (John 7:7)? Yes, people hate the light “because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19).
Would it be wise to make the statement: “I don’t hate anybody or anything”? No, we do not want to hate people
who have been duped by Satan, but we certainly must hate evil. Why is it that many are reluctant to speak out against wicked deeds? Is it political correctness? Or maybe they are fools—who hate knowledge.