Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yes, I Hate It!

Psalm 97:10
Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.


If you wanted to get in trouble as a child in my family just let somebody here you say, “I hate you.” That was the meanest; ugliest word you could say because that was the opposite of love. Hate meant that you were devoid of any kind of connection to that person. You loathed their very existence. Hate brings a wrath where death is not far behind. Hate leaves no room for reconciliation. There is a brutal finality to hate.

In the 50’s & 60’s blacks had to overcome the hatred of white racists. In the 80’s, blacks had to overcome the hatred of one another as gang wars intensified. In the 90’s, we had to overcome the hate and terrorism of gay people. In 2001 and beyond, we had to overcome the hate of the world toward America for acting like cowboys after 9/11 and creating enemies we didn’t have to create, we have to overcome the hatred of “illegal” immigrants while hypocritically using them for cheap labor, and finally we have come full circle with the hate of our President because of his race, policies, and his position. You can almost hear people from opposite ends of the political spectrum screaming at each other like Kelis in her song, “I hate you so much right now!”

Hate is such a destructive word and action but as bad as hate is there is a place for it. We are supposed to love God and Hate evil! The word evil comes from the Greek word, "asebia", which means godlessness. Evil occurs where and when God’s will is hindered by human sin. Evil has a broader meaning than sin though. The Hebrew word comes from a root meaning ‘to spoil’, ‘to break in pieces’: being broken and so made worthless. It is essentially what is unpleasant, disagreeable, and offensive. The word binds together the evil deed and its consequences. In the NT kakos and pon─ôros mean respectively the quality of evil in its essential character, and its hurtful effects or influence. It is used in both physical and moral senses. While these aspects are different, there is frequently a close relationship between them. Much physical evil is due to moral evil: suffering and sin are not necessarily connected in individual cases, but human selfishness and sin explain much of the world’s ills.

John Perkins said we have packaged hate in issues. Give a name to an issue or a person and they are easier to hate i.e. conservative, liberal, blood, crip, homo, illegal immigrant. When we villainize people it’s easier to hate them and we don’t feel the need to repent because “their evil.” John Perkins whose brother was shot during the civil rights movement and he himself beaten by white police officers was asked, “Don’t you hate white people?” He said, “I don’t have the strength to hate, I can’t carry that white man’s sin and mine.” It’s only through forgiveness and love that we are relinquished of the weight of sin.

The Security of Love ought to make us courageous. When we hate evil, that is the act or the action produced by hate, we can begin to turn the tide on evil. Dr. King taught us how to overcome someone’s capacity to be evil with our capacity to love. There is no greater love than this, than he who would lay down his life for a friend. Some would scarcely die for a friend but Jesus demonstrated his love for us in that he died for us while we were yet sinners. He died for us while we hated God but God so loved the world that he gave us Jesus to die for us. When we hate evil by loving God we can’t help but to reverse the effects of hate. Only love can conquer hate. Even when you hate people’s evil ways you can’t allow yourself to hate the person.

When we love God and hate evil, God will guard the lives of his faithful ones and deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Well, what about Dr. King, and even Jesus? They died trying to hate evil and love God. They died when their mission was complete. Their lives were not taken they were given. When we stand for what is right God will guard us until our mission is complete. Now go forth and hate evil but Love God. Hate the sin but love the sinner. Erase Hate and Eracism.

Dear God, give us the strength to love our enemies and to overcome evil with good. Give us a righteous indignation for what is evil without hating the individuals who manifest an evil spirit. Show us how to redeem the good in a person while seeing the bad in a person. Help us to see through your eyes that we might be about the business of reconciliation until there is a world where there is now no distinction between Jew and Greek, Christian and Muslim, Black or White, Gay or straight, but where we are all your children. Teach us how to love each other and hate that which separates us from you.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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