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Holy Hatred

Greg Stier
Greg Stier

“Do you hate sin or are you just against it because you are supposed to be?”

I don’t know who said these words. I just know that when I heard this provocative quote as a teenager it stuck in my brain. It stuck because “hate” is not a word that is used all that often in our honey-drenched society of nicety.

But maybe it should be.

Not all that long ago my 9 year old son asked me, “Daddy, can I hate Satan?” I answered, “Sure! Please do!”

“But isn’t it a sin to hate?” he asked.

I thought for a minute and answered, “We can hate what God hates and God hates sin and Satan.”

He smiled and said, “Good!” Every little boy needs something to hate besides chores and sister-induced tea parties.

Actually, every Christian needs something to hate too. If sin and Satan don’t top that list I don’t know what does.

There is a thing that I have come to nickname holy hatred that should boil down deep in the soul of every believer. As a matter of fact the more I study God’s Word the more I realize how central holy hatred should be to the Christian life. We should hate sin in our own lives and its impact in the lives of others. We should hate injustice, hypocrisy and worldliness.

This brand of holy hatred is seen in the Old Testament in the life of David. Because he loved God so much he hated what God hated and loved what God loved. Check out Psalm 101:1-4, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise. I will be careful to lead a blameless life—when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.”

David loved God so, as a inevitable result, he hated sin. In some ways this is a great test for how much we truly love God. Do we hate what he hates?

Holy hatred boiled in the soul of Jesus when, on two separate occasions, he drove the moneychangers out of the temple with a whip, once at the beginning of his earthly ministry (John 2:15) and once at the end (Matthew 21:12.) As he cast out the moneychangers he screamed, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

The first impression Jesus made on the masses was that of holy hatred. He loved his Father’s house and hated what the greedy hypocrites had turned it into. The whip he made reinforced his point with a painful exclamation mark.

It’s time for Christians to hate. And, of course, I’m not talking about hating people. We love people but we hate their sin…and we hate our sins even more.

Let us love God and others with all of our hearts and then let us, propotionately to our love for God, hate sin and Satan.

“Do you hate sin or are you just against it because you are supposed to be?”

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