If you read the comments on a YouTube video, a news or opinion piece on CNN’s website, or the blog of any hipster, in the heat of “conversation”, you will read the retort, “You’re just a hater.” I am revealing my age in writing the following: I do not know what that means exactly. If anyone would like to enlighten me in the comments, feel free to do so.
Anyhow, reading and hearing the term “hater” caused me to consider if “hater” is such an insulting team after all. Are there not certain things worthy of hate? I am not speaking of hating people. I am asking, “Are there ideas and actions that should be hated?”
God is a Hater
After all, there are things that God hates. Two passages that represent what God hates are Deuteronomy 18:9-13 and Proverbs 6:12-19.
In Deuteronomy, God through Moses warns the Israelites about the sins that they should avoid in Canaan. Deuteronomy 18:9-13 lists idolatrous and occult practices and it says that God hates all of them. His hatred of such things and His jealousy to be alone the object of worship do not flow from a flawed moral character. Rather, they flow from His desire to see humans fulfilled. He created us to worship Him, to glorify Him, and to enjoy Him forever. Anything that distracts us from that task and that becomes an object of our affection or trust is an idol. He wants us to worship Him alone and to depend upon Him alone. He hates what destroys our relationship with Him. He hates those things because He loves us.
Likewise God hates what destroys relationships between humans. Proverbs 6:12-19 list interpersonal actions and attitudes that alienate people from one another. God hates these actions because they divide those He created in His image from one another. He hates those attitudes and actions because He loves us.
The Bible calls all the actions listed in these two passages “sin”. Sin is any action that God hates. Sin is open rebellion to God’s will and His desire to see us fulfilled by living out the purpose for which He created us. The Bible teaches us that sin is the cause of death and that sin merits God’s wrath.
God Hates the Death of the Wicked
Ezekiel 33:10-11 says, “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (ESV)
God does not take pleasure in sinners dying. He does not take pleasure in people experiencing His wrath. He desires something better for us. Holy Week, which we celebrate next week, is the week in which He demonstrated the better way. Through Jesus Christ, He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him and to fulfill the purpose for which He created us.
God Is Love
God is a hater, but He is also love. The depth of His hatred of sin, that which separates us from Him and from one another, reveals the depth of His love for us. The Gospel, or Good News, is that He sent Jesus to make right all our sin destroyed. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16, 17; ESV)