Should I Love Those Who Do Things I Hate?

Recent events in Charlottesville jerked my emotions around. Demonstrators and counter demonstrators engaged in a brawl that ended with three dead and others injured including journalists. The dead included two police. Blame-casting rumors swirled like no-see-ums on the humid coast.

We live in a time when hate flows quicker than tap water. We can be sucked into a vortex of destructive reactions based on emotion and half-truths if we don’t guard ourselves.

Political leaders become easy targets for blame and hateful comments. Everyone has someone to jeer.

Is Hate Ever Right?

It may surprise you to know hate is not necessarily wrong. God hates.

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 person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV).

This list doesn’t give us permission to judge others. Judgment and punishment belong to God alone (Rom. 12:17-21). I believe the Bible lists these things so we won’t do them.

If we hate the things God hates we’ll run from them—not to them. This list shows us what not to do. He grants us self-control, not other-control.

Speaking of Running

The division in our country reminded me of the prophet Jonah. When God sent him to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to warn them about God’s pending judgment, he ran the other way. Assyria was a proud and ruthless nation and enemies of Israel.

God captured Jonah’s attention—literally. While in the belly of a big fish, Jonah submitted to God’s commission. He went to those he hated and preached a one-sentence sermon. As a result, “The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth” (Jonah 3:4-5 NIV).

Was Jonah ecstatic that God used him to bring about one of the biggest spiritual revivals in history?

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live’” (Jonah 4:1-3).

Jonah didn’t believe the Ninevites deserved God’s mercy. He wanted God to punish them not forgive them. God used a plant and a worm to expose his unrighteous anger.

Nineveh represents those who practice or have committed actions God and we hate. The book of Jonah reminds us God wants all people to find mercy and forgiveness through Jesus. He wants to use us to reach them.

Hate evil enough not to join in. #Love people enough to reach out. Share on X

Review the things God hates and pray with me.

Lord Jesus, help us to be more like You. We need Your grace to hate evil so that we won’t practice it and love the people who do practice it.

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  1. Ann Musico

    This is such a timely and well written post Debbie. It so clarifies the whole “hate” and judgement of those who believe differently from us issues. Beautifully done.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. I always appreciate your thoughts. It is easy to let emotions manipulate us into actions that go against who we are and what we really believe. But we know who the god of this world is and his intention is to lie, kill, and destroy.

  2. Jacqueline Wallace

    This is very well thought out and written, Debbie. I appreciate how you pulled Scriptures together to reveal the truth God has spoken. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jacqueline!

  3. Horace Williams Jr.

    Beautifully stated Debbie, and something for Christians to remember. We must love like Jesus loves. With the growth of social media and lack of direction from our leaders, many feel emboldened to pile on or blame. Especially those that are different or who disagree . It is imperative for Christians to be a light in a dark world as Jesus commanded.
    Always a blessing to read your thoughts shared here Debbie. May God continue to bless you and your family in all your endeavors. Be well friend.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Horace, I agree. We are called to be light. Our lights should shine brighter, not dimmer, in darkness. Blessings to you too, my friend!

  4. Carolyn

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very sensitive subject. Also, thank you for reminding us about what God states we are to hate; not who to hate, but to love the individual.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Carolyn, thank you for you encouragement.

  5. Tara Furman

    In the midst of such noise and clamor – such a refreshing perspective. Convicting too. God’s heart❤️

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Tara!

  6. Trudy Eastland

    This is very encouraging message. We are to hate the sin but love the soul. We need to pray for them.. We need to remember if it it wasn’t for the grace of God where would we be in the world. If we hate people how will they every know the love of God. We need to love them and pray for them to see the light of Jesus.. God bless you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Trudy. We need God’s grace to be His arms and mouthpiece. Blessings.

  7. Beth

    Oh yes! Jonah is a perfect example of prejudice that God did not tolerate–hated, in fact! Thanks for bringing this powerful message to our current situation–straight from the pages of the Bible. I pray for our nation’s leaders daily, but really need to add to it, praying for the hearts of the people–myself included. We all need to grow deeper in our love of God, so that it will spill over onto all that we meet. Thanks for this message, Debbie! Just spectacular!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Beth. I want to be more consistent in prayer. Only God can change a heart. And He does every day!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Andrew, that’s a beautiful picture. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Susan Shipe

    Debbie, you handled this hot topic with such grace and truth. Glad I visited (from some linkup but I cannot remember!!!).

    • Debbie Wilson

      Susan, I’m glad you found me! Blessings.

  9. Sarah Geringer

    You make a great point with the Jonah story. It’s tempting to withdraw into my comfy Christian circles in this time of turmoil. But I need to be the salt and light in my community. Thanks for this reminder.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Sarah. I think we ask God what He wants from us today and do that. Otherwise, it’s too overwhelming.

  10. Liz

    Woah… Debbie! This is powerful! I love how you pulled Jonah’s story in. Excellent parallel! Lord keep me from becoming complacent in my Christianity and lead me toward those who need Your love and grace and mercy! Blessings!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Liz. Most of us need that prayer.

  11. KellyRBaker

    Love this, Debbie! So needed. I’ll be sharing this on social media.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kelly!

  12. Kristi Woods

    I’ve also set eyes on the very verse lately, Debbie. Isn’t it funny how our Father sets everything out, in plain sight, yet we allow temptation to steer us away from truth and toward ungodliness? I love your tweet above. Soaking in your words now – and retweeting as well. Good stuff! #livefreeThursday

    • Debbie Wilson

      Kristi, thanks so much for sharing. Blessings!

  13. bethany mcilrath

    Spot on, Debbie. Thank you. I remember reading Jonah for the first time a few years ago. I’d heard a “kids version” before- in which Jonah is too scared of Ninevah, so he runs away, gets in the belly of the whale, prays, God saves him, and then he goes to Ninevah without fear. Reading the actual truth- including Jonah’s disobedience BECAUSE He knew God was compassionate and merciful but didn’t want Ninevah to receive that is so sobering and humbling. Thanks for the convicting words today!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I know, Bethany! I like to use this to remind people who say the God in the OT is different than the one in the NT. Jonah knew He was compassionate and just. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

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