Among the things there is a time for, according to Ecclesiastes 3:8, is “a time to hate.” A time to hate? When and why would that be? Who or what would that include?
For example, would it ever be appropriate to hate fellow believers? 1John 4:20 says, “If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Well, is it all right to hate one’s enemies? Jesus Christ said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” — Matthew 5:44. God’s people were told not to even rejoice when their enemies fell at Proverbs 24:17.
So when would hate be a good thing? Psalm 97:10 says, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.” Hate evil? First, who decides what is evil? If our aim is to please God, wouldn’t it be His view that matters?
For example, Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
If these are things God hates, how should we feel about them? The writer of Proverbs 8:13 said, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
Why is this form of hatred a good thing? Well, do you think hating evil will prevent us from practicing qualities that God hates? Can it cause us to turn aside from bad just like we would back away from the edge of a cliff?
Another example of God’s view of evil is found at Psalm 11:5 where it says “the one who loves violence His soul hates.” Do we need to rethink our views on violence, even as a form of sport or entertainment?
Romans 12:9 says, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” The New Living Translation says, “Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” How can we develop such hatred?
One way is by considering the harmful consequences that sin brings. Galatians 6:7 assures us we will reap what we sow. Developing a disgust for what is wrong can be a real protection. While the Bible condemns hating one’s enemies, what about people who truly hate God?
At Psalm 139:21, 22, David said, “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
David tolerated people who hated him, like King Saul, better than he tolerated people who hated God. But his hatred did not cause him to go out of his way to do others harm. It was not aggressive or violent. He left everything up to God, according to 1Samuel 26:8-11.
Jesus mentioned another form of hate at Luke 14:26. He said, “If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sister, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
According to the New American Standard Hebrew-Greek Study Bible, the Greek word translated hate is “miseo” and can also mean to “love less.” Surely, to put God first we must learn to “hate” or “love less” all others.
If we work at loving what God loves and hating what God hates, we align ourselves with the words of Psalm 45:7, “Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
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