Tweets of the Day

How to be a Christian hater

No, not how to hate Christians. Rather, how to hate as a Christian. For, as we saw yesterday, there is a time to hate (Eccl. 3:8).

But how are we to hate? How are we hate in a Christian manner?

Hate biblically: Personal prejudices and biases must never be the basis for hate. We must hate only what the Bible commands us to hate. While the Bible commands us to hate evil in general (Rom. 12:9; Heb. 1:9), it also gives us specific sins to hate: lying (Prov. 13:5), bribes, (Prov. 15:27), covetousness (Prov. 28:16), false ways (Ps. 119:104),  pride and arrogance (Prov. 8:13), etc.

Hate proportionately: Our hate should be proportionate to the offense. We don’t show equal hatred towards playground bullying and murder or rape. Some sins are more dangerous than others, and some are more damaging to society than others. Our moral outrage should reflect the seriousness of the sin.

Hate appropriately: The way we express our hate should fit our role in society. For example, a President expresses his hate of Islamic terrorism in a different way to a private citizen. While a President is authorized by God to use armies to oppose such evil, unless his life is in imminent danger the private citizen opposes evil with prayers and words.

Hate impersonally: Yes, hate the sin but love the person doing the sinning. Hard, very hard, though it may be at times, we must make every effort to separate the sin from the person. Jesus is the perfect example of someone who loves us personally, yet hates our sin with a perfect hatred.

Hate lovingly: Hating a person’s sin is no excuse to treat them rudely or violently. Instead, while opposing their sinful practices and opinions, we must try to do them good in many practical ways (Rom. 12:17-21). We listen to their viewpoint courteously, we answer them reasonably, we don’t insult them or call them names, and we look for opportunities to show practical acts of kindness. We do not defeat evil with evil, but with good. When they shout at us, we don’t retaliate by turning up the volume even higher. We hope they will discover, before it’s too late, that those they presently call “haters” actually love them far more than many who say they love them.

Hate evangelistically: We express disapproval, opposition, and yes even abhorrence towards a person’s conduct in order to convict them of sin, to show them that their lifestyle is offensive to God. But that’s not the end point; rather, it’s only a stepping stone to pointing them to the full and free forgiveness of Jesus Christ. We’re not out to prove them wrong or put them right. We’re out to bring them into the love of God in Christ.

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Tweets of the Day

The case for “hate”

“Hate” is just about the only sin left standing in the 21st century; we can do anything but hate. In fact, to say anything is wrong is to hate, and to be called a “hater” is the ultimate insult. New “hate-crime” laws in Europe are targetting anyone who makes anyone feel hated (regardless of whether they were hated or not).

We used to hear teenagers respond to parental correction with, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” and laugh: “It’ll pass.” Now mature adults respond to any moral disagreement with, “You hate me, you hate me, you hate me!” and we fear we are on the way to prison, or at least to losing our jobs or businesses.

Chicken burgers are transformed into hate-burgers by expressions of support for biblical marriage. Call someone a “hater,” and you don’t need to even listen to their views, no matter how reasonably or calmly stated.

Standing up for hate
Well, I’m going to stand up for “hate.” In fact, I want to see a revival of hate in our churches and in our society. I’m not talking about the sinful hate that attacks people with vicious words or wicked actions. I’m talking about holy hate, the kind of hate we find commanded and commended in the Bible (Ps. 97:10), the hate that loathes and opposes anything that dishonors God and harms humanity.

“But Jesus loved everybody!”
Yes, Jesus loved every single one of his neighbors, perfectly. But He also hated sin with perfect hatred. So much so that such hate was one of the proofs of His divinity (Heb. 1:9). It was His holy hate of Pharisaical double standards that put a whip in His hand to drive conmen out of the Temple. It was His holy hate of sin that propelled Him to Calvary’s cross to save sinners. It was His holy hate of the Devil that inspired Him to defeat and destroy him.

It was the hate of tyrannical slavery that mobilized Wilberforce and other abolitionists. It was the hate of enslaving and dehumanizing false religion that motivated William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and many other missionaries to give their lives for the salvation of faraway nations. It was the hate of Nazi principles and practice that motivated Churchill, Roosevelt and millions of soldiers. It was the hate of sinful discrimination and prejudice that empowered the civil rights movement.

It’s the hate of sexual abuse that campaigns against the international sex trade in young boys and girls. It’s the hate of alcoholism and drug addiction that calls thousands of Christians to seek out the perishing on our cities’ streets and in homeless shelters. It’s the hate of baby-slaughter that lines the sidewalks of abortion clinics with loving pro-life counselors. It’s the hate of drunk driving’s massive human and financial cost ($132 billion in the US every year) that propels MADD.

What hatred was made for
In They don’t make hate like they used to, Lars Walker refers to C. S. Lewis’s space novel, Perelandra, where the hero, Ransom, makes a moral decision to use his fists to fight a demonic spirit that had possessed a man:

Then an experience that perhaps no good man can ever have in our world came over him – a torrent of perfectly unmixed and lawful hatred. The energy of hating, never before felt without some guilt, without some dim knowledge that he was failing fully to distinguish the sinner from the sin, rose in his arms and legs till he felt that they were pillars of burning blood….It is perhaps difficult to understand why this filled Ransom not with horror but with a kind of joy. The joy came from finding at last what hatred was made for.

Yes, hatred has a moral purpose. In fact, without it, we are quite simply no longer moral. Morality requires not just a love for what’s right but a hatred for what’s wrong. We cannot love anything without hating its opposite. We cannot love our neighbor without hating what harms him or our society.

The big question
That being so, the big question is not whether moral hatred is right. The question is: “What is moral? How are we to decide what is wrong? What are we to hate?”

The alternatives are certainly becoming clearer: Jesus’ biblical values or Rahm Emmanuel’s “Chicago values?”

Tomorrow we will look at how Christians are to hate (and here it is).

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