Men, we were made for hate. We were made to burn hot and lash out. We were made to wield an all consuming fury that terrifies anyone who encounters it.
I know it flies counter to everything you’ve ever heard, but I’m convinced of it.
We should be leading the hate-revolution, but instead we’re running from it. Our hate should shake the foundations of cities and nations. But instead of setting fires and starting wars, we’re hugging it out and falling in love with Jesus.
I’m aware that there will instantly be objections to this terminology. Let me make the case for hate.
The very first objection raised is that “God is love.”
I agree. No reality offers any greater hope than God’s love. But when people object to the idea that God hates, they’re really saying, “God is ONLY love – and – God ONLY loves.” And that’s a distortion that will lead people to Death.
King Solomon tells us of God that “[t]here are six things the LORD hates…” (Prov 6:16)
If God isn’t bothered by it, neither should we be.
Ok. Fine. God hates. But WE are called to (only) love.
Among other things, we live in constant, paralyzing fear of nuance. Two things can be true at once. God loves; he also hates. We can be created to love, and also be created to hate. King David commands it: “Let those who love the LORD hate evil…” (Psalm 97:10)
It’s part of our nature, our design. “In God’s image” means far more than the “built for relationships” mantra of modern evangelicalism. It means that we’re meant to reflect God’s nature for the purpose of expanding his Kingdom and displaying his Glory.
We’re meant to relate to the world the way God relates to the world. And that includes a very powerful, unquenchable, terrifying hatred of evil.
Life or Death
God breathed life into man. God sustains life; he upholds the living world. God’s word causes spiritual rebirth; it breathes life into spiritually dead men.
Evil, and the Evil One, seek to kill, to destroy. The presence of evil, and the carnage we’re all hip-deep in, should stir up a holy hatred.
If we don’t hate death and the things that lead to death, we cannot call ourselves Men of God. We are not partnering with Jesus in glorifying God if we are not consumed with a white-hot hatred at the grip of death on the world around us.
John Eldredge paints this powerful picture of Jesus’ hateful response to the death of Lazarus in his book Beautiful Outlaw.
The root of the Greek word [referring to the description of Jesus being deeply troubled by Lazarus’ death] here means “to snort in anger,” like a warhorse… This is the Prince of Life, who came that we might have life – what do you suppose his personal attitude is toward death?”
Hate is not optional. We either hate death and the things that cause death, or we hate death’s victims. Passivity and complacency in the face of death-causing-evil is its own hate. We cannot love without hating evil.
A Word of Caution
Have you ever thought about what it means to be a sinful person made in the image of God. Try this on for size: as image-bearers, we also sin in the image of God. We were made to worship, and we sin by worshiping status, money, power, or pleasure. We were made for intimacy, and we sin by replacing Godly intimacy with false sexual intimacy.
We were made to hate, and we sin by hating the wrong things. We were made to hate evil, but we hate people ruined by evil. We were made to rage against death, but we scream at death’s victims.
Let this be a caution: God intentionally created you with the capacity for hatred. And in the face of evil, we’re obligated to rise up. But we are not given a license to sin. We must stay true to the mission and honor the rules of engagement.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
There’s a marvellously manly undertone to the Bible. We don’t talk about it much because part of our love-obsession is the over-emphasis on being “nice”. Win gracefully, we’re told. Don’t rub it in.
On the baseball diamond, that’s fine. But on the spiritual battlefield, our celebration of Life and Victory and God’s overcoming awesomeness becomes a mockery of our enemy:
“When you were dead in your sins… God made you alive with Christ… And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col 2:13-15)
God taunts death through the prophets:
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!
Pity is hidden from My eyes.” (Hos 13:14)
God does not develop any pity for death as centuries pass:
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55)
God used the men of Israel to defeat false Gods, to demonstrate His magnificence, to proclaim his power. He is the true God and his people’s hatred for evil was the chariot he on which he rode to conquer his enemies.
We’re not conquering nations anymore, but we’re still fighting under the banner of God’s hatred until:
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor 15:26)
We’re still living in the land of idols and evil. Let’s smash them. Let’s conquer the death-bringing evils of human trafficking, addiction, and exploitation. Let’s burn the altars of selfishness and greed. There’s no shortage of evil to hate. It’s tragic.