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. Click To Tweet
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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Dominion by Randy Alcorn is a great suspense novel that gives understanding into racial conflict. I highly recommend it.
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