If someone says “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar, for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we can’t see? 1 John 4:20
Ouch. It’s only Day 3 of this love journey, and God has just punched me in the gut. But wait…you are a pastor? I know. But I still struggle with people. But hate? Yes, I’ll get to that word.
Growing up I learned there were several words you just did NOT say. Anything using God’s name if you were not specifically praising Him. Shut-up. Certain potty words. Whatever (mainly me, as a teen, to my mom). And hate. Why hate? Hate was considered too strong a word to use. We were told we “may not like their ways, but we don’t HATE.”
Hate in this instance meant contempt. It meant a sheer dislike. A desire to see someone suffer. And growing up this was considered something of bad character.
God doesn’t like it either. Especially among His believers. Especially in His churches.
Why is this such a big deal to Him?
First, the Greek translation of hate is “miso,”which means to loathe, detest, abominate. If you look at the definitions of these words they all imply intensity of emotion. Utter disgust for someone. It is usually accompanied by malice, and a desire to see someone pay.
You ever felt that? Don’t lie. I’m not going to. I have. When someone hurts me, I want them to feel the hurt I have. If they prosper, it makes me angry. I wonder why in the world they would be blessed, and I want the whole world to know their true character.
But these things are not characteristic of God. God detests evil, yes. And He will take care of evil people, but His overall nature is loving.
So we can’t hate someone, and love God at the same time. We can’t hate someone, and display His character. We can’t curse someone else, and praise Him with the same lips.
If we find ourselves in this state of emotion, we must use our lips for something good-prayer.
Pray for God to excise our hearts of resentment and anger. Pray we have hearts that see those who have hurt us in the way He sees them. Pray we wish them well, and not ill.
We don’t have to like everyone we meet. Everyone we are around. Everyone who has hurt us. But we do have to have hearts that are free from hatred in order to display the love of God to others. We are called to live in harmony. With all his children. With the people we see around us.
This is what He desires.
He would love nothing more than this from His children.