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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Hate: a product of unity?

It’s an unlikely connection; but I am convinced that if I am living out the reality that I am unified with other believers by the Spirit of the Living God, then there is indeed room for hate in my life. In fact it is necessary that there is hate in my life.

A few weeks ago, my local Church had a message about unity. Generally the message was about how we are to be unified with others who believe in Jesus and that we are unified by His Spirit in us. As I listened, I thought about how this might look in life if we were living out the truth of our unity, and I decided that it meant that we would simply be practicing all the “one another’s” in the epistles.

The following day, or at least on a day in the following week, I sat in a park watching a kid for three hours straight. Knowing it was going to be an easy task, I took along my journal; so as to give myself something to do as the child played.

I began to work through some difficulties I was having in a relationship with a fellow believer. As I listened to the message on unity, particularly Romans 12 had come to mind. I began to write down the phrases from this chapter in my journal. I left room between each phrase for me to record how it might look if I was living out unity with this person in a practical way. I found a really interesting Scripture “sandwich”. There is a verse or two in Romans 12 that says this:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love.

I found it impossible to ignore that I was told that if I wanted to love this person sincerely then I would have to hate what is evil in our relationship. I figure the next phrase has to do with the only way the relationship can survive: if we cling to what is truly and actually GOOD in it. Not what feels good, but what actually IS good in the sight of the almighty God. Sometimes the most toxic parts of relationships are what feels good in relationships, after all. Hello, Codependency, I would like to say goodbye!

Honestly, in a weird way, it felt really freeing to realize the Bible told me to hate. Intellectually I have known for a long period of time that I am to hate sin, but it just struck me so different that day. It was having the H-word sandwiched right between sincere love and devoted love that really caught my attention. After all, I strongly love this person emotionally, God knows I want my love for them to be sincere and devoted. God knows I want to be willing to lay down my life for them, and yet His first description of what that love might look like begins with “hate…”.

It was a fascinating concept. I began to write down all the things that I ought to hate in the relationship. I wrote down all the things that I ought to cling to in the relationship. It felt so freeing to know that God was not in heaven trying to get me to say that the sinful parts of the relationship were “not that bad”. Nope, He was up in heaven saying, “Hate sin.”

As I have continued to ponder this concept, I have noticed the more internal workings of how a love for my fellow human being which hated their sin and brokenness would truly be the most sincere. It doesn’t have to be filled with condemnation. God knows my ability to stand in self-righteousness over a fellow human being is non-existent. This week as I was reflecting on some of my current actions in a few relationships, I considered that I must truly be the most selfish person on the face of this planet, which made me consider how much I must have won the prize for most selfish seven years ago! I must have really outdistanced everyone back then.

One of my pet peeves is when people try to make me feel better about some sin in my life. “It’s not so bad.” “Everyone does it.” “We are all broken.” “Everyone’s entitled to a little fun.” “God will understand.” “That’s what grace is for.” No, that is not what grace is for. Just let me hate my sin. How else will I choose to let it go?

Another thing I considered in light of this conversation was that if I was going to develop the character of God, then I must not only love what He loves but I must hate what He hates. To say I love God and am filled with His Spirit of love, joy, peace, etc, and yet love sin is impossible. The character of God hates sin. It hates everything that does not glorify Him. It hates all self-righteousness and self-promotion in human beings. It hates it when I preserve my own pride and seek my own welfare above the needs of others and the choice to love them.

Paul goes on in Romans to finish his thought before seeming to change subjects:

Love must be sincere; hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Hating the sin in the relationship isn’t going to have me dishonoring or diminishing the other person. I won’t be trying to trample them under my feet or tell others about how bad their sin is. No, I will be lifting them up in honor above myself. I will be building them up and not breaking them down. I love wherever that verse is in the epistles that says Paul was given authority to build up but not breakdown.

This has been a most interesting “Scripture sandwich” to consider. It has had me pondering a new way to love. A way that is purer, stronger and more holy than what I had previously considered. One in which there is much more room for joy.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. I John 2:9-11

Do you make excuses for sin in your relationships?


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