God is love. Simple but profound statement that is backed up by Scripture over and over again. Put the words God and love in a search of the Bible and you will get flooded with results. Put the words God and hate in a similar search and prepare to be underwhelmed. Do a little broader search of just the term love or hate and the results are similar. Love outpaces hate in Scripture by about 6 to 1. God is love is what John said in his epistle 1 John.
So, who or what does God hate? Well, the results might surprise you. Contrary to the “teachings” of a church I don’t wish to even promote in the slightest, God doesn’t “hate” gays. Go look for the Scripture that says He does. You won’t find it. Does God hate and detest homosexual acts? Scripture is plain in saying repeatedly that He does. But He separates the person from the behaviour in a way that we just don’t understand. If you go looking for individuals or people that God hates as opposed to attitudes or actions, the list gets pretty short. God hated Esau according to the Bible (Mal. 1:2, and quoted by Paul in Romans 9), but though the word hate is used here it seems it is more intended as an antonym to love in this context showing God’s care of Israel.
David speaks of God’s hate in Psalm 5:
4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
6 You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.
7 But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple.
Of course, if God hates all who do wrong, it would mean that He hates all of us, for we all do wrong. Yet again, God is love and as John says, “God so loved the world. . .”
Proverbs six contains the only other direct reference I could find to God “hating” an individual in any way and it reads like this:
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (emphasis mine)
In this last verse, God hates someone who stirs up hate. How does that grab you? The common thread in all of these except the Esau quotation is that the “hatred” of God is tied to the actions of a person and not to the person themselves. It can easily be argued that any hatred for Esau could be a result of Esau despising his God-given birthright.
So who or what does God hate? God hates evil and by extension those who consistently practice evil and/or love evil. If God hates someone or something, He is right in doing so. (Psalm 51:4; Romans 3:4)
In any case, God hasn’t given us any room to harbor hate personally. The most specific example is the entire chapter of 1 John 4 in conjuction with most of the book itself, but the clincher is in these two verses:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
The next time you are tempted to throw the word hate out there about somebody or maybe even something. Perhaps it would be good to remember this passage.
I will say one last thing. I am keeping my eye on some “predictions” from some hatemongering prophets of doom and may post again later on this subject.
What do you think? Can we justify hate biblically? Does God give us the permission to hate for Him on His behalf?