Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
Christian churches today have great hesitation in calling hate a good thing, but the Bible has no such reservations. In particular, several passages, like this one, encourage us to hate evil. As many people have pointed out, the difficulty comes in “hating the sin but not the sinner.” Humanly speaking, we tend to equate the messenger with the message, which means that the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and following puts us in a very difficult situation. After all, “love your enemies” doesn’t come naturally! However, the devil has been all too successful in deceiving many that loving sinners means accepting their evil, and the results of that are obvious in society today. “Tolerance” is preached for every sort of perversity, while those who do so practice anything but tolerance for Biblical morality. Every human being is someone for whom Christ died, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t to hate the evil that they – or we – do. This verse gives specific examples of evil that are to be hated by those who fear God, and it’s a very interesting sample. The first two are attitudinal, the third is behavior, and the fourth is speech. We tend to focus on behavior, but this makes it clear that’s only part of the picture. It all boils down to seeing things from God’s perspective and accepting His values.
I had the immense blessing of growing up in a family that sought to follow Christ, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been personally successful at it. Society today numbs us with a constant barrage of evil of all kinds, and I am under that influence as well. The song, “Anything Goes,” is all too true, talking about what is accepted in society. I need to remember to love those for whom Christ died, but not forget to hate evil. The silence of Christians has been a major factor in the explosion of public evil. I can’t change society with a word or a wave of my hand, but I am not to support evil by my silence. I am to be gentle and loving, but firm, with the emphasis on the firm! I am in a position of influence toward many, and I must make the use God intends for that influence, destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) rather than propping them up by my passivity.
Father, this isn’t a comfortable Word, because it’s a call to action. Keep me from letting it pass unanswered. I ask for wisdom in my daily living – speech, purchases, TV watching, computer usage, and all that – so that I may discern evil and hate it, rather than “going with the flow” and supporting it by my passivity. Looking at the world around me, I am at times overwhelmed with the reality that there is much that is not pleasing to You, as You once told me personally. Help me indeed hate the evil, even while loving those who are ensnared in it, so that Your Name may be hallowed, Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!