How What We Hate Defines Us. (This Can Be a Good Thing.)

Hate is an important aspect of being a human. Hate is a crucial ingredient of a good person’s character. What we hate says a lot about who we are, what we value, what we care about. And how we hate says much about how we will succeed in love and life.

What we hate defines us.

But first I have to get you over this yucky feeling of how important hate is. Because of the hate that is in the world (have you ever seen the face of racism?), we think hate is a bad thing. So we think we shouldn’t feel hate. You think you shouldn’t hate so easily. You think you should also feel guilty for feeling hate. We are uncomfortable with hate. We are afraid to show hate.

I remember the first time I felt hate. Felt it deep in my soul so I cried. I was 21 working at a church. We had one family who fostered children all of the time. Every Sunday they came in late and they always had a varied number of children with them. They always took up a whole row often in the back. They were heroes.

One Sunday I was late getting to the service so I snuck in behind them. With them that day was this boy, maybe 5 years old, who was holding a hymnal like it was a Bible. This boy kept turning around to show me how proud he was to hold a Bible. I, of course, was playing along with him. He was so joyful. After many minutes of this (great staff pastor that I was, late and distracted) he turned his head the other way and I saw it. He had a shoeprint bruise along the entire side of his face. You could see the sole of the shoe in the bruise.

I broke. I cried. I hated evil that day. It has formed me.

Do you think how hate has formed me from that day forward led me to the brave decision I made to raise my boys?

Hate is a definer because we are defined in part by what we love and what we hate.

Dr. Henry Cloud tells us in his Boundaries course, “What we love says what we will invest in, go for, move towards, give time and resources to, and orient ourselves toward with the best parts of who we are. You can tell a lot about people by what they love. You think differently, for example, about someone who ‘loves his family’ as opposed to someone who ‘loves to win at all costs.’ What he loves gives you a window into his soul, and you know what to expect from him.

“Likewise, we can know a lot about people by what they hate. A person who hates hard work, for example, causes you to wonder. Or one who hates weakness would likely cause you to keep up your guard. Hate gives us a window into people’s makeup in the same way that love does.”

Do you see it now?   

God hates too.

How could our God who is love…hate?

This verse in Proverbs is very clear.  “There are six things that the Lord hates…” Well, there it is.

Lisa Bevere surmises that list into this list of what God hates:

  •      God hates all that unmakes love.
  •      God hates what unmakes and breaks those he loves.
  •      God hates what undermines his image and distorts our identity.

Filter my first experience of feeling hate through those three points. Filter your experience through those three points. Do you see how hate can define you?

“God loves people. God loves the broken. God loves the bound. God loves the sinner. God is love, and love never hates people, because people are who God loves. God loves every one…but God does not love every thing.” (Lisa Bevere, Adamant) (Recommended)

So much for this hippie peace-loving Jesus. But then again, that Jesus never matched up to the Jesus who was angry in the temple and who confronted the religious leaders. Though I have no doubt Jesus loved those religious leaders. It was their piety that undermined the beautiful image of God and distorted their identity.

Hate is good when it causes us to protect what we value. We hate it when things we love are threatened, so we move to protect them. In that way, hate is a protective emotion, urging us to stand for good things.

Hate is good when it creates protection. Hate moves to destroy bad things, which are often the things that threaten the good. When we hate the evil around us, we move to get rid of it as an act of love. Romans 12:9 teaches us, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”

We are allowed to hate. We are taught to hate what is evil. We need to hate well. People who put the effort in to hate well will find ways that preserve life. To do this well you must move against the problem and show love and respect to the person at the same time.

A person who does not hate well uses his hatred in a way that hurts the things he cares about.

There is a difference that can be seen. And can change your world.

May God move your heart to hate evil. May you feel the evil and may that move you to love vulnerably. The world needs the heartbreak you risk.

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