by John DeGroff
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
I am not a person who uses the word “hate” often; in fact, almost never. At least not in regard to people.
I pretty much reserve the word for situational things like any medical procedure involving a needle; changing a flat tire in the rain; April 15th. You know, stuff like that.
In regard to people, well, like everyone else who actually gets out of the house and has a life, I’ve had to deal with annoying folks a lot. Especially in the music business, in which I’ve been involved for a long time.
I’ve had business experiences within the music industry where I’ve been cheated royally. There are people I probably should “hate”, but why? Eventually, I realized they’re just not worth the effort. I don’t hate them, but I surely no longer trust them. There’s a big difference between hating them and no longer trusting them.
Okay, so that’s a long introduction to my premise, which is…when is it okay to hate?
The word “hater” has entered the vernacular lexicon to such a degree that it’s now practically meaningless. If you disagree with anyone or any concept, you are now instantly branded as a “hater”. Have an argument with a gay person, you must obviously hate all gay people. Take a pro-life stance? You’re a hater of women’s rights. Own a gun and support the 2nd Amendment? You must hate school children and wish them nothing but harm. It’s gotten to the point that if you causally mention that you had a great cheeseburger for lunch, you’re now a “hater” of animals.
So when is it acceptable to hate? As a Christian, I wanted to see what God actually says on the subject. Starting with the Old Testament, let’s see what His word says regarding the subject.
The prophet Amos was concerned about the hypocrisy of Israel and its leaders of that time. In chapter 5, versus 14 and 15, he says this:
(v.14)Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.
(v.15) Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
The overall focus of Amos is directed at the rulers of the day who sought to act and govern in ways counter to God’s divine plan for Israel. Amos regarded these rulers worthy of hate.
In Ecclesiastes 3:8 we’re reminded that there “…is a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Obviously hate has its place. It shouldn’t be lost on any thinking person that the reference to hate in this verse is coupled with a mention of war, especially against any enemy who wishes your destruction.
Further back in the Old Testament, in Leviticus 26:17, the Lord states that “…they that hate you will rule over you.” This evidently became an established pattern for Israel whenever they blew it and walked away from God’s plan.
Continuing throughout the Old Testament, the Lord shows his hatred for those who strive to do evil and go against not only his law, but the established law of the land. Psalms 26:5 “I abhor the assembly of evil doers”; Psalms 97:10 “Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of the faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked”; Psalms 119:104 “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”
Proverbs 26:24-26 sheds light on the type of leadership and ruler that the Lord hates most.
(v.24)A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. (v25) Though his speech is charming, do not believe him…
(v.26) His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
The Old Testament is pretty up front about when hatred is proper. In the next installment, we’ll take a look at what the New Testament says, and specifically Christ’s words on the subject.
(Author’s Note: Scripture references are quoted using the New International Version of The Bible.)
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.