It has often been said that hate is the opposite of love. At one time I, like most people, accepted that premise as if it were true. The truth is that hate is not the opposite of love. Because for so long, people have been deceived into believing that hate is the opposite of love, we also have begun to believe that hate itself is a sin. After all, if hate is love's opposite, then if love is good, hate must be evil.
The result of this is that we have millions of believers who have given up one of the most powerful G-D-given emotions because we have been convinced that hate is evil. The truth, however, is that as believers we are not only allowed to hate but encouraged to by Scripture.
For instance, in Proverbs 8:13 (TLV), we are told: "To fear Adonai is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and a perverse mouth."
Psalm 119:163 says: "I hate and abhor falsehood, but Your Torah I love."
And Psalms 45:8 "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore, God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions."
Hate is a strong emotion often misused and misapplied in the lives of believers because we have been taught that hate was sinful. There absolutely is hate that is sinful, but hate itself is not sinful.
Let me give you some examples. I hate cancer. I hate the murder of babies through the horror of abortion. I hate the division caused by racism. I hate divorce, which has destroyed so many of our families. I hate sin and its results upon all mankind. I hate bad teaching that causes believers to believe they cannot be righteous and hate at the same time.
Hatred is exactly how we are supposed to feel about sin and its results upon G-D's creation. Hatred is a strong emotion designed by G-D to provide energy in the hearts of those who serve Him so that we will get emboldened to rise up and fight those enemies that come against His kingdom. But because those who believe in G-D have been convinced that we cannot hate, the enemy knows that one of the powerful weapons G-D provided to His army has been removed from our spiritual armor, and it has weakened us dramatically.
The truth is that love is not the opposite of hate, but righteous love can cause righteous hate. Yes, there is unrighteous hate, but that will be a topic for another article. Another example: I have many friends and family members who died from cancer, so my love for my family and friends brought about my hate of cancer. I have family and friends whose families were destroyed by divorce, leading me to hate divorce. I could go on, but you should already see the pattern. My hatred of cancer emboldened me to study about cures, support research and even change some of my own lifestyle patterns.
My hatred of divorce caused me to spend more time counseling people before and after marriage. It caused me to encourage people I shepherd to build strong relationships with each other and to prioritize their lives to enable them to put their marriages first.
Hatred wasn't given to us so that we would simply feel an emotion any more than love was given just for the feeling. We were given both emotions by design to help us to be strong in our faith. We are in a spiritual war, and to win a war you must have both love and hate. You fight for what you love, and you fight against what you hate.
The bottom line is we must hate the enemy of our souls and his lies so much that we hate that he has stolen our righteous ability to hate.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom:With Eric Tokajer, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and God Has No Plan 'B.'
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