“Don’t hate!” A common phrase I have heard young people say a ton in the last 6 years. Hate is a strong word and often has a negative connotation. The definition of hate means to detest or dislike very much. Hate in and of itself can actually be a good thing depending on what we choose to hate and how we hate.
I strongly believe you can learn a lot about a person by observing what they love and also what they hate. What we love and hate helps to form our character. Suppose you met someone and you knew they hated things like: lying, arrogance, innocent people getting hurt, someone who devises harmful plans that affect others, schemers, back stabbers, or people who are “pot stirrers”. I don’t know about you, but when I meet a person who lives their life being true to those hates (walked his talk), I would want to call them my friend.
In Proverbs 6:16-19 it states, “There are six things the Lord HATES, seven that are DETESTABLE to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” To sum it up, then it says in Romans 12:9, “Love must be sincere. HATE what is evil; cling to what is good.” Yes, God hates!
One thing hate can do is protect us from becoming what we hate. For example, more than likely if we hate arrogance, we won’t be arrogant. In general, if we hate something, then more than likely it won’t become a part of us.
The second thing hate can produce in us is the need to protect what we value. For example, I value our children. Most mothers are like Mother Bears with their cubs, very protective and rightly so……We mothers HATE when we feel our cubs are being threatened………..thus it awakens a protective force in us. If we value honesty, then we will protect the value of honesty when we deal with others, and will be willing to confront dishonesty.
I have not met anyone who likes a bully. The definition of a bully is picking on and being cruel to the innocent. In my opinion, and I am sure most would agree, that is a great thing to hate. We should hate it enough to not allow it to happen if we see it. One last example that is in my opinion key in relationships is Trust! Relationships are built and fall apart based on trust. If you value honesty…….then you must value trust… thus you would naturally hate unfaithfulness. Hate of the right things in life (evil) can serve as a shield to deflect the evil that lurks.
HOW we hate is what usually brings us the most trouble…. WE CAN GET THIS VERY WRONG…..IN FACT WE CAN GET IT EXTREMELY WRONG……
There is a right way to hate and a wrong way to hate. We are not to hate people, we can hate what they do: lying, cheating, killing and stealing, just to name a few; but hating people doesn’t help anyone. Successful people tend to hate in a certain way. They protect what they value, but they preserve life and the people.
Unsuccessful people often fail because their hatred is not serving them or the things for which they care. Often they are attacking and destroying the very things they should be caring about. We can all learn to go hard on the issue and soft on the person/people. I cannot claim that I have this all figured out. I have personally been working on this for a while. I do know Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” Being disciplined enough to live this brings much fruit in one’s life.
Learning to hate well takes love, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness toward a person or persons, but standing strong on the issue. By strong, I mean not giving in or backing down on what you hate or the evil you see. Strong means immovable and steadfast, not mean, loud, ferocious, or hateful. Strength means being around the things you hate and not being affected by them, all the while you are seeking the greater good and confronting evil. Many times being strong calls us to live the verse found in Proverbs 17:9, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense……” Sometimes we overlook an offense meaning we look past it, to see the cause, and address the root of the offense.
As Christians we have a responsibility to hate well and love in the process. It can look like “tough love,” which is easier said than done, especially with ones very close to us. We have all been created in God’s image to stand up for life and stand against things that destroy life. Negative things are going to happen in life, things we hate… (evil)…. we are called to respond…..but the big question is whether our response is going to be constructive or destructive.
Avoidance is an option which usually leads to a personal “heart infection”. We can hate in immature ways that are destructive and destroy relationships. Or, we can hate well…..meaning we can objectively choose what we will hate, and we will objectively decide how we will deal with or address what we hate as issues present themselves….prayer and God’s Word are starting points to learn to hate well.
Being intentional about learning to “hate well” will stretch you, challenge you, mature you, and the end result will preserve, not just your life, but others as well. Remember a key verse found in scripture, Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but over`come evil with good.”