Our weekend theme is “Victory in Love,” so let’s briefly explore the opposite: “Defeat in Hatred.”
There is an evil, sinister side to hate, a loathing of that which is good and pure, a darkness of soul that foments violence against the innocent. It is the spirit of evil that originates from the ultimate hater, Satan. But as the quintessential master of disguise (II Cor. 11:14), Satan camouflages hatred to make it appear milder, justified and less offensive to our own senses.
Hate is a “gateway” sin, an incubator of other sins and a polluter of one’s nobler impulses. We ought to be alarmed if we sense hatefulness in our thoughts, yet sometimes the opposite happens: hatred feels good and masquerades as righteousness. Thus we might unwittingly indulge it. This can allow hatred to sink a tap root deep in our heart.
Is hatred ever justified? Note Vine’s second definition of hate: “of a right feeling of aversion from what is evil.” Paul lamented in Rom. 7:15: “For what I am doing, I do not understand, For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Further, Jesus commended the Ephesians: “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Rev. 2:6). Hatred is a natural corollary of righteousness, but we must exercise it with extreme caution lest Satan deceive us into unjustified, self-righteous hatred.
Hatred is fragmenting American society before our eyes. Seemingly our “United” States are devolving into warring factions which despise and malign each other. It is easy to get caught up in political animosity and become defensive about the deterioration of our culture. But we must carefully handle these feelings and retain a spiritual perspective, for unbridled hatred can destroy a country and corrupt our soul. Those who hate often act out of pain and fear and confusion; they have lost their moral compass. Let us remain grounded in God’s love and model by our words and actions “a more excellent way” (I Cor. 12:31).
— Jim Jonas