by John Armstrong
I’m a hater. Is being someone who hates a bad thing? It depends on what you hate. If you
hate sin, then we would say that is a godly trait, because God is often spoken of in Scriptures as
hating sin and evil. The commanded of Amos 5:15 is, “Hate sin and love good…” So, yes, it is a
good thing if you hate evil things. That said, people created in the image of God are not evil,
they may act in evil ways, but they also bear God’s image, therefore they are not appropriate
objects of our hatred. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and so we have
no right to pass judgment on others who are sinners like us.
So, I have to confess that I am a hater. There have been times in my life and places where I
have hated people. I still struggle to love people with the love of Christ. I still have to stamp
out the little flames of hate that tend to pop up more often than I would like to admit. Now, let
me make something very plain for all the world. If I teach something from God’s Word that is
contrary to your belief, your actions, how you feel, or how you think, that does not make me a
hater. If I disagree with you, that does not mean that I hate you. In fact, the opposite is often
the case. If I’m willing to risk you being upset because I’ve spoken the truth to you, then that in
fact is an act of love. I know that doesn’t feel loving, but our feelings can often be misleading.
Our feelings serve us best when they are clearly informed by right thinking. So, speaking the
truth to someone (the really hard part is doing it in love) is a loving thing to do. It seems
counter-intuitive especially if someone is speaking to you in order to bring correction or rebuke.
If that correction or rebuke leads me to right relationship with the Lord, then that act of
correction is wonderfully loving.
In our day and age, it has become very popular to label anyone who disagrees with the cultural
zeitgeist (popular beliefs) as a hater. You hear the immediate retorts of racist, bigot,
homophobe, extremist, and on and on it goes. Going against culturally accepted ideas will get
you labeled in a heartbeat these days. That is all designed to embarrass and shame you into
submission. It is a cheap and cowardly tactic that is used by the weak and lazy. I am not
denying that there are those out there who are haters and that their hating is sinful. My hating
certainly is and I am willing to face it and deal with it when it is brought to my attention. I do
not think you hate me if you can sincerely and lovingly point to sin in my life. I do not like it, but
I appreciate someone loving me enough to engage me in such a way as to be a tool in the hands
of the Holy Spirit for my sanctification. As God gives you opportunity, be that ready tool in the
hands of the Lord for the good of your brothers and sisters in Christ. When it comes to those
outside the faith, do not be surprised that unbelievers act like unbelievers. They need your love
and understanding, and by God’s grace a door maybe opened to share the love of Christ with
them so that they too come to know the Good News of Christ.