Can I Be A Christian and Hate?


Can I Be A Christian and Hate?

Once more we are going to offer a simple answer to a complex question.  This is an invitation to dialogue, to enter into the conversation.  An answer will be presented and an explanation to follow, it’s up to you to make up your mind.

Can I be a Christian and hate?  We know that disciples of Jesus are ambassadors of Jesus and therefore emulate his thoughts and behaviors.  Jesus is a lover. His greatest command to those who walk in paths of righteousness is to love.

Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)
Jesus said, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

Love is much more than a feeling, love is what we do.  When it comes to our love for God it is demonstrated by our obedience to His commands (1 John 5:3). Love for others is seen when we treat everyone with respect and seek to meet their need as the opportunity arises, it's being a good neighbor (Luke 10:25).  In the Genesis story care for the Garden is our symbol for being wise stewards of earthly resources, that’s how we show our love for the earth (Deuteronomy 8:17-8).  You know that you are righteously loving yourself when you are actively partnering with the Holy Spirit in His process of transforming you increasingly into the likeness of Jesus (2  Corinthians 3:8).

Jesus taught and became an example of His teaching when He said:

John 15:13 (MSG)
This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.

Of course, we know that love was the motivation to surrender to the Cross and stands as an example of the boundlessness of seeking to meet the needs of others.  The need that Jesus death on the cross meet was your need to be reconciled to God.  I still haven’t figured out the reason why the scripture teaches that blood-shedding is necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). I still haven’t figured out why a contract, a covenant, to be binding, had to be sealed with blood (Exodus 24:8).  But it was understood by the writers of scripture.  Jesus surrenders to death makes it possible for your sins to be forgiven, for you to be made right with God, and heir to the promises of abundant and eternal life.  IF that’s your need today acknowledge it, confess it.  Believe that Jesus makes it possible for you to be reconciled to God, adopted as God’s child, and made an heir of the Kingdom.  Acknowledging and believing, make a commitment, a sacred vow, to be a Christ-follower.  Ask God to accept your faith, its by faith that you receive the gift of God’s love for the world (John 3:16).  Then tell others about what has happened to you, what God in Christ has done for you (Romans 10:9).  What a gift, why not receive it right now if you haven’t.  Choose to get into the love of God.

Let’s press on (Philippians 3:14).  Can I be a Christian and hate?  In a letter written by a follower of Jesus 3 times the Apostle John raises this question. 

1 John 2:11 (NCV)
But whoever hates a brother or sister is in darkness, lives in darkness, and does not know where to go, because the darkness has made that person blind.

1 John 3:15 (NCV)
Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderers have eternal life in them.

1 John 4:20 (NCV)
If people say, “I love God,“ but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen.

Matthew 5:43-44 (NCV)
 “You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.

Love your enemies. Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you. Romans 12:17 overcome evil with good. 1 Peter 3:9 repay evil or insult with blessing.

OK, enough of proof-texting lets answer the question. Can I be a Christian and hate? The answer is YES.  A follower of Jesus can still be a lover and hate.  Our exploration now needs to turn to discover what love hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (MSG)
Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.

Notice it is not people that God hates, its actions inconsistent with righteousness.  The first thing I want you to notice about this list is the word “arrogant.”  Arrogant is the offspring of egoism (Romans 12:3).  Egoism exalts self at the expense of another. Egoism wholly places confidence in self.  “I am in control; I am self-sufficient; I am the one; I call the shots; I make the rules; I do what I want when I want.” God hates this, a loving Christ-follower can too.

Notice it is not people that God hates, its actions that have no place in a child of God.  A lying tongue, one who intentionally misleads is an abomination to the One who revealed himself as the Truth (John 14:6).  “It’s just a white lie; I’m just telling them what they want to hear; I’m going to tell them what I think they need to know.”  Lies are an affront to God's purity and holy character.  Ever hear of the 9th commandment (Exodus 20:16)? God hates lies, an obedient believer can too.

Notice it is not people that God hates, its actions inconsistent with the Christian lifestyle.  “Hands, that’s actions, that shed innocent blood.”  I am most likely self-contextualizing this, so take what I am going to say and wrestle with it.” I think God hates abortion. I think God hates murderers.  Again in my thinking, God also hates what we can call soul murder.  When someone crushes the soul, the emotional well-being out of another human being, I think God hates this, a true disciple can hate these actions also.

Notice it is not people that God hates, its actions that disregard the law of love.  The heart is symbolic of one's attitudes, motives, affections, thoughts, and desires (Proverbs 4:23)  The Psalmist sings: “Create in my a clean heart, Oh God” (Psalm 51:10).  God hates hearts that plots evil, a person living a devout and holy life can also.

Notice it is not people that God hates, its actions that deter, damage or destroy right relationships.  “Feet swift on paths of wickedness.”   Out of a black heart comes dark deeds.  What the heart focus’ on the hands and feet do.  Evil actions of all kinds are found down the path of wickedness.  Evil always hurts people, both perpetrators, and victims.  God hates wickedness and its siblings, oppression, injustice, cons, prejudice, bigotry, and the like, those born again can hate these actions too.

Notice it is not people that God hates, its actions that are meant to make others look bad or rip them off.  That’s Satan’s job Revelation 12:10).  “a mouth that lies under oath”  is a special kind of lying. It is always meant to hurt another person.  Gossip is the telling of unnecessary information (Ephesians 4:29).  Slander is defaming another person (James 4:11).  Criticism with the purpose of undercutting, along with gossip and slander are all a form of perjury.  Cheating on a job, refusing to do what you said you would do, saying one thing, doing another are all hated by God (Numbers 30:2).  If God hates the breaking of oaths, then those who are called by His name can hate them.

Notice is it not people that God hates its actions that create disunity.  A trouble maker in the family causes strife, division, quarrels, and animosity. The family is to be a safe haven, the family of God, the Church is to be a place of encouragement, support, acceptance, and belonging can be found, an environment that one can thrive in.  If God hates actions that break the fellowship of a family, of His family, then as a child of God you can too.

People are not to be hated, for Jesus died for people that they may be transformed into His likeness. 

Romans 12:9-19 (NCV)
Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes.

14 Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are.

17 If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. Do your best to live in peace with everyone. My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I will punish those who do wrong; I will repay them,“ says the Lord.

As a Christian, you are called to be a lover.  Hate what God hates.  Love people hate the evil people do.  You might even consider allowing that hate to make you an activist in the Kingdom.

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