Proverbs 8:13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
Reading the benefits of wisdom that follow this, it would seem almost automatic that people would desire and seek wisdom, but this verse gives insight into why so many do not. As it says clearly in the next chapter, you can’t have true wisdom without fearing God, (Proverbs 9:10) but people don’t fear Him and they love evil instead. (John 3:19-21) We understandably focus on love, but genuine wisdom hates some things too. Note that what is listed here is not people, but rather actions and attitudes. It is ironic that this is a major way in which the devil attacks us. He does his best to make us hate people, and so fall into various sins ourselves, rather than hating their evil actions. The Bible does speak many times of hating evil people, but this is the path of true wisdom. Forgiveness and redemption are always available for those who repent in truth. Once we separate the person from the action, we are far freer to recognize evil attitudes and actions in ourselves. This is actually a vital point in parenting that many parents sadly overlook. Discipline is essential for everyone, but we need to remember that the child is not bad, the action is bad. When we project, or even say, “You are a bad person,” the consequences are disastrous. We need to communicate, “I love you, and I cannot allow that.” Children are where this is closest to home, since we bear the most responsibility for them, but this attitude applies to every one of our interactions. There are many today all over the world who, deceived by the devil, teach that we are to hate various people for assorted arbitrary reasons: race, political party, ethnic background, or what have you. All of that is from the pit of hell. Jesus died for those people. How can we hate them? They may indeed do hateful things, as this verse says, but we are not to hate the people themselves. Recently a marvelous example of this was in the news, when a strongly Christian family forgave the person who killed one of them, literally embracing her and speaking blessing on her. I’m sure they hated her action, and even the things that led up to it, but they obviously didn’t hate her, and it was an example for the whole world.
I was raised with unconditional love, and that’s a blessing beyond words to express. However, some of my actions weren’t hated perhaps as much as they should have been! (Some of them, my parents didn’t know about.) Pride and arrogance were my big failures, but in general I was raised to accept and even love everyone, regardless of differences. I am very grateful that I was raised not to hold grudges, but to release things to God and let Him deal with ultimate consequences. I have had situations where people have set themselves against me, and others have been amazed that I haven’t expressed any personal animosity toward them. That’s because I haven’t felt any! I am on my guard against their lies, but I genuinely feel sorry for them being so deceived. The news is filled with stories of people who do horrible things. Sometimes they get caught, and sometimes they seem to get away with it. However, I know that ultimately no one ever gets away with anything, but we all have to stand before God and be judged. That awareness gives me a fear of the Lord that I desire for everyone else!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Temptations to hate people, rather than their actions and the devil who’s deceiving them, abound. Help me see things with Your eyes and respond accordingly, loving Your children with Your strong love regardless of their actions, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!