Monday, April 02, 2012

"Is hate really negative? Is love really positive?" (Part Two)

Previous post

Hate is negative and bad, depending on the particular instances, circumstances or sorts of hatred. After all, that is something that the Scriptures tell us in a number of different instances. For starters, notice that the following is written:
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. (Titus 3.3)

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (1 John 2.9)

But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2.11)

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3.15)

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 John 4.20)
The fact that John would go out of his way to refer to particular persons as brothers suggests that not all people are brothers (or sisters) of each other according to the sense of the term as it is used in the passages above; indeed, persons such as the children of the devil mentioned in John 8.44 are not brothers of those who have been born again. So hatred of one’s brother is a bad thing though hatred of other persons apparently is not mentioned in the passages above.

Then again, it bears mentioning that not all hatred is alike. According to a simple dictionary definition of “hatred,” some hatred is nothing more than one’s intensely disliking someone: something which some of us have experienced in cases of individuals who are so repulsive or loathsome to us that we cannot bear to even think about these individuals on account of the mental anguish or discomfort it causes. Such hatred is innocent; if something repulses you intensely, then it repulses you: a function of the offending object, not you. On the other hand, there is also hatred wedded to resentment, malice or envy; this is something which perhaps cannot be justified given the attendant evils of malice and envy. I offer no defense of the latter sort of hatred. However, the former sort of hatred is just and biblically-sanctioned in many if not all instances. It is written:
…I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law. (Psalm 119.113)

Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? (Psalm 139.21)

I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the LORD. (Psalm 31.6)

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. (Psalm 45.7)

You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 97.10)

Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119.104)

Therefore all [Your] precepts [concerning] all [things] I consider [to be] right; I hate every false way. (Psalm 119.128)

I hate and abhor lying, [But] I love Your law. (Psalm 119.163)

The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. (Proverbs 8.13)

A righteous [man] hates lying, But a wicked [man] is loathsome and comes to shame. (Proverbs 13.5)

[Let] love [be] without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. (Romans 12.9)
If you hate idolatry, then good for you; such a hatred is righteous. If you hate malice, envy, slander, gossip, adultery and other evils, then good for you; such a hatred is righteous because such things run contrary to God’s law, run contrary to God’s will, and are contemptible precisely because they are evil.

In fact, every instance of one’s failing to do what is best for himself is an instance in which pity, indignation or disapprobation is appropriate even if hatred is not appropriate. (Consequently, we human beings are such that we prefer that quadriplegics be fully mobile, that all autistic savants be able to flourish in modern society as most people do, that ignorant people go out and read a book or two and become wise, that children grow up to become wise and mature, that people choose the difficult, correct path in life versus the quick and easy path which involves immediate gratification but ends in death and decay. In this vein it is preferable that anyone who is homosexual, regardless of the cause of this, go as far as to walk the quasi-eunuch’s path vis-à-vis Matthew 19.12 if that is what righteousness requires of him.)

Make no mistake about it. Through the New Testament’s emphasis on the subjects of love of God and love of neighbors people forget that God is a god of justice, judgment, and hatred to boot. However, the prophet David and other mortal human beings are not alone in their biblical hatred of sin and people who sin, for it is written:
“For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 61:8)

“21 I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. 22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept [them,] Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.” (Amos 5.21-22)

“‘Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these [are things] that I hate,’ Says the LORD.” (Zechariah 8.17)

“But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2.6)
And yes, based on anecdotal evidence apparently it is possible to hate and to love or cherish a common object simultaneously. Compare:
My heritage is to Me like a lion in the forest; It cries out against Me; Therefore I have hated it. (Jeremiah 12.8)

(“All their wickedness [is] in Gilgal, For there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes [are] rebellious.”) (Hosea 9.15)

26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this [is] My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the gospel [they are] enemies for your sake, but concerning the election [they are] beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God [are] irrevocable. (Romans 11.26-30)
This would explain the mystery of those biblical texts which are popularly cited concerning divine hatred of sinners:
4 For You [are] not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. (Psalm 5.4-5)

The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. (Psalm 11.5)

16 These six [things] the LORD hates, Yes, seven [are] an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness [who] speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6.16-19)
Let the reader search his or her own heart to determine what or whom it honestly hates and whether this hatred is just. In any case, let no one say that hatred is absolutely evil or that no particular kind of evil is just, because the Scriptures teach otherwise. Some hatred is bad and some is not.


Just as some hatred is bad while some hatred is good, some love is negative while some love is positive. Observe:
…Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God [endures] continually. 2 Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3 You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah (Psalm 52.1-3)

And I said: “Hear now, O heads of Jacob, And you rulers of the house of Israel: [Is it] not for you to know justice? 2 You who hate good and love evil; Who strip the skin from My people, And the flesh from their bones; 3 Who also eat the flesh of My people, Flay their skin from them, Break their bones, And chop [them] in pieces Like [meat] for the pot, Like flesh in the caldron.” 4 Then they will cry to the LORD, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds. (Micah 3.1-4)
Meanwhile, the result of love is not always a thing which is good. A relatively obvious example is to be found in 2 Samuel 13 (“After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name [was] Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her”).

So again it follows that just as some hatred is bad while some hatred is good, some love is negative while some love is positive.

No comments: