What a weird few weeks it has been in America. Genders and races are changing right in front of the whole world. There has been tragedy and a response to said tragedy that has dwarfed even the events themselves and created a debate all its own. There have been some very important and remarkable Supreme Court decisions. Politics and emotion have collided and created a hurricane of debate about very serious issues.
And among it all, the word hate keeps being thrown around, whipped from both sides, hurled toward anyone who would dare disagree with the “mainstream.”
“That’s hate speech.”
“A hate crime.”
“Keep your hate to yourself.”
“Haters gonna hate.”
“Your opinion is proof of your hate.”
Some of this hate is expected, born of disbelief and anger; born of revulsion to crimes that are unimaginable and viewpoints that are unbelievable.
I’m not one to shy away from a political or religious debate. I never have been. But I’m learning now how to make my opinions and views work for more effective change in the hearts of people rather than just temporary agreement in an argument. I like my opinions. I stick to my convictions. I’m not backing down and I’m okay with voicing my dissent.
But even if I end up shaking my head in bewilderment at your viewpoint, my opinion is proof only of my disagreement. And I am 100% capable of disagreeing without any hatred at all, as most people of faith are. Hatred is an emotion. Opinions should be based also on fact, whether that fact is drawn from scientific evidence, historical proof, or religious belief (which, to many, is fact).
So please, don’t mistake my dissenting opinion for hate. I. don’t. hate. you.
But I’ll tell you what I do hate—I hate sin.
I hate the way it twists and turns, weaving is way into willing hearts. I hate the way it defiles and deceives, and I hate the way it manifests itself in evil acts that serve to divide and destroy.
I hate how it abolishes tradition. I hate how it revises what is allowable. I hate how it murders and destroys families, leaving nothing but sadness and devastation it its wake.
I hate what it’s doing to our country, our neighborhoods, our relationships. I hate what it does to me.
And I think it’s 100% okay to hate sin. In fact, it’s encouraged. Even the Bible talks about how God himself hates sin.
We need to hate it, but before we can hate it, we need to know what it is.
“People are afraid of what they don’t understand.” How many times have you heard that or a variation of it?
Ladies and gents, you need to understand sin. (The more you read about and understand Christ, the more you will be able to recognize sin).You need to not be afraid to stand up against it. And you need to hate it. You need to hate it with the joy of knowing that one day it will be destroyed.
But until that time when sin is finally obliterated, what do we do? What about when something happens that walks all over our moral convictions, heats our emotional coil and threatens to spew words from our angry and frustrated mouths?
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. –Psalm 6:16
Proof right there from the scripture that God himself hates much of what has happened in this country over the last few weeks. Plug those events right in.
How have you added to it?
Sure, you didn’t pull a trigger inside of a church and spill innocent blood (in fact, like most of America, you were probably deeply saddened and repulsed that such a thing could happen). You didn’t spout racist propaganda, placing yourself above others. You didn’t sit on the Supreme Court. You didn’t issue court rulings or devise the very court cases that brought the rulings.
But did your reactions leading up to and after these events add to the hatred listed above?
Did you lie to support your side of the argument? Perhaps you pulled at half-truths just to feel like the victor?
Were you conceited and disdainful, filled with self-righteousness because of your views?
Did you run headlong into a conversation full of nasty words and vitriol?
Have you stirred the pot, making the angry, heated words flow even faster rather than cooling the situation with words that heal and encourage?
You don’t have to agree with the other side of the argument.
The winner of the disagreement is the one who leaves with his or her integrity intact, having soothed the angry mob with words that present the only version of Christianity that some people will ever see. The winner is the one who refuses to fuel the fire with more sin, but instead stokes it with the love of Christ. Sometimes this means walking away from the debate all together. Sometimes it means keeping your mouth shut, even when that is a difficult thing to do.
So seriously consider if you want the best version of you, as you present Christ to the world, to be the version that also adds to the very things that God himself detests.
Hate can be a good thing.
Hate sin. Hate what it does to the world. Hate how it lies and destroys. Hate how it misleads people into believing that they don’t need God.
Hate sin with such ferocity that introducing people to Christ and his loving forgiveness of sin becomes more important than winning an argument.
Stick to your convictions.
But don’t be its vessel.