A number of months ago, the Holy Spirit whispered something to me that caught me completely off guard. I had just finished writing a few chapters on love—a favorite topic of mine—for my newest book Adamant, when I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Lisa, I am also adamant in hate.”
My heart skipped a beat.
How could our God who is love . . . hate?
As though in answer, a phrase from Proverbs came to mind: “There are six things that the Lord hates . . .” Well, there it was. The writer goes on to list pride, deceit, wicked schemes, sowing discord, and more (Proverbs 6:16–19).
The next morning before I sat down to type or even search the Scriptures, I prayed, “Heavenly Father, I need you to speak to me. My first reaction is that hate is irreconcilable with a God who is love, yet I see clearly from Proverbs that there are in fact things you hate. Teach me. In Jesus’s name, amen.”
No sooner had amen passed my lips than the Holy Spirit began to speak. I scribbled down what I heard as quickly as it came.
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.
In short, our Father hates all that perverts and corrupts love.
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.
In the genesis of creation, God made all things good and for our good. Sadly, I don’t need to tell you that we no longer walk the uncorrupted soil of Eden. The very earth below our feet groans, aching for its restoration. In the same way, every human heart is filled with a desperate longing for the revelation and the realization of all that is true, just, and beautiful. We want to see love gain its full expression in every area of life. Is it possible that we have idolized love and in the process called things love that are not?Have we believed our actions were loving when in actuality they were not? God is love, but love is not God. We worship God, not love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). But danger arises when we separate love from the parameters of our God.
God is love (1 John 4:8). God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). In him we live (Acts 17:28). When we pull these truths together, it is not a stretch to say, “We live in the consuming fire of God’s love.”
Hatred is an emotionally charged negative word. There is absolutely nothing neutral about hate. I immediately think of the word association: hate crimes. To explore this path with me, I need you to step away from your personal experiences with hate and disassociate the word from all people. For the purpose of navigating truth, push aside hateful images and the hateful actions. Do you agree that the definition of love has been distorted by both our culture and human experiences? Do you agree that the term love has been misused? Far too often people say they love without the corresponding actions or the commitment of love. When a word is overused, its meaning can be cheapened or even lost. To truly love as God loves, we cannot love what he hates.
Just as love cannot be defined outside our Creator’s eternal perspective, so too we must look to the Scriptures for a definition of hate. For the moment, let’s push aside our human experiences with hate and deal with its meaning.
As a noun, it encompasses such hostile words as animosity, abhorrence, revulsion, and disgust. When hate adopts the form of a verb, it means to loathe, detest, be repulsed by, and despise.
At first glance, it is easy to assume that none of these attributes are in step with a God who not only loves but also is love. Yet as I searched the Scriptures, I discovered the following. Our Father hates…
…everything that undermines justice and truth.
…when widows, orphans, and aliens are oppressed.
…the abuse of the elderly and the neglect of family.
…what perverts his goodness and taints his gifts.
…when love twists into selfishness and friends become enemies.
…what changes his image and distorts ours.
…when evil is called good and the innocent are killed
…when arrogance and pride degrade us.
Essentially, God hates all that undermines love, for everything that debases love debases us. When love is debased, our understanding of God, who is love, is tragically undermined. When God’s image is distorted, children who seek a Father are confused. Ultimately, everything God hates is about protecting what he loves, about protecting the good He created from those who would seek to destroy it. Why was I surprised? Every loving parent hates every form of vice that wouldseek to destroy their children. The Old Testament is not the words of an angry God; rather, it is the admonition of a loving Father who wanted his children to live life at their best. Jesus didn’t change God’s mind in the New Testament. Jesus came to reveal the Father’s heart.
No parent wants hardship for their children. Yet struggles and challenges are not our ultimate enemy. Earthly trials can serve as crucibles that drive God’s children to a place of humility and prayer. Challenges give us fresh eyes that translate into new perspectives as we read the Word of God. Our true enemies are of a more subtle nature. They are vices such as greed, pride, compromise, immorality, idolatry, and depravity. These distortions of life lie to the children of God by implying that we can serve two masters: God and this world’s system.
If we are to truly serve God, we must not only love what he loves, but hate the evil that hinders love. We must make a practice of the words of Paul in Romans 12 if we are to truly love sincerely:
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NIV)
This post originally appeared on Lisa Bevere's ministry blog and was republished with permission. It is also an taken from her book, Adament. If you got something out of this blog post, you’ll love my newest book Adamant. Grab your copy at IAmAdamant.com.