Jump Start # 2669
Ecclesiastes 3:8 “A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”
The other day while mowing and listening to my “oldies” music, the song, “Turn, turn, turn,” came on by the Byrds. The words are straight from Ecclesiastes 3. It’s a great song. I doubt that the Lord got any royalty money for the words, even though they were His. While listening, our verse, was sung, “a time to love and a time to hate.”
We pretty much have the love time down. We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Husbands are to love their wives. Loving God is the greatest commandment. We are even to love and pray for our enemies. In weddings, 1 Corinthians 13, the Biblical concept of love is read. Behind evangelism and before forgiveness is the principle of love. We hear many, many sermons on love.
But when is the time to hate? Hate is always seen as bad. In the current social unrest a lot of hatred is being expressed and demonstrated. Politicians say mean things about each other. When an angry child shouts that he hates his sibling, parents are quick to turn that around and stop that kind of talk. But, here, Solomon tells us that just as there is a time to love, there is a time to hate. Solomon not only being one of the smartest people in the Bible, endowed by wisdom from God, he was also guided by the Holy Spirit to write what he did. So, in essence, God is saying there is a time to hate.
This is one of those topics that generically is misunderstood. Like the subject of judging, we are led to believe that all judging is wrong. But, it’s not. The very passage that tells us not to judge, tells us to judge. Contextually, one comes to understand what is meant by “judge not.” Hatred is like that. You’ve likely not heard a sermon about the upside of hating. “Ten great ways to hate,” usually doesn’t make it to Sunday morning.
What is even more shocking to those who haven’t delved into the Bible much is that God hates. This seems counter to the passages that says “God is love.”
- Proverbs 6 identifies a list of things that God hates
- Psalms 5:5 says that God hates those who do iniquity
A time to hate? When is it ever a time to hate?
First, hatred is an emotion and a reaction. It is never an excuse to harm someone or to break laws. We can never hide behind, “A time to hate,” as a justification for being cruel, unkind or hurtful to others. One passage does not eliminate another passage. A time to hate doesn’t give reason to ignore the golden rule or to love your enemies. Hatred expressed in offensive and bad language isn’t right. Hatred that leads to hurting someone isn’t right. With some, hatred is a green light to do criminal activity, be ugly and out shout everyone else. A time to hate isn’t a time to close the rest of the Bible.
Second, God’s level of things will never be ours. God forgives much greater than we ever can. God loves greater than we can. And, God’s hatred is much different than ours. The anger of God is seen throughout the Bible. The casting of Adam and Eve out of the garden, the worldwide flood, sending worms to arrogant Herod, the instant death of Nadab, Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira all illustrate the anger and wrath of God. The justice of God justifies these things. We are not God and we are not to take the law into our own hands. God established the government as a means to punish evildoers.
Third, hatred can blind us and destroy us. Some people can be eaten up with hatred and refuse to reason or listen to others. Their hatred drives them to be prejudicial, evil and even mean towards those they do not like. In anger, people have said things that they wish they never did. Anger has hurt many innocent people. It is nearly impossible to be filled with hatred and not be an angry person. That unchecked anger invites the devil into our hearts to take us places that are not kind, wholesome or good. And, once hatred has settled within us, it is hard to get rid of it. Some are living in hatred all of their lives. And, that hatred makes them miserable. I’ve met a few brethren through the years that allowed hatred to dominate their thinking. They were a mess. They were trouble in the church and in their homes. Not much good came from hateful hearts.
Fourth, having put all of these prequalifies on hatred, when if ever, is the time to hate? Can I ever hate and still be right with God? Does hate even belong within the heart of a child of God? Great questions to consider. Here is my short list that I came up with:
- First, I ought to hate when I disappoint God, let others down and choose sin. We tend to think of hatred as outward and directed toward others. But, a positive way to use this negative is to look within. We ought to hate doing wrong. We ought to hate hurting others. For some of us, the way we grew up, we have a little Pharisee within us that wants to be judgmental towards others. One ought to hate that about his own heart. And, this hatred of doing wrong should lead us to forgive others and to seek to walk with the Lord more. A time to hate? Every time you and I do wrong.
- Second, I ought to hate when people abuse the God I love. God’s name is holy and sacred. When people blaspheme that name, use that name in vain, and use it as causally as air, giving no thought to the Lord, that ought to disturb me. It ought to bother me. I cannot like on Facebook any message that trashes God’s divine name. Saying, “My God,” or, “Oh, my God,” is not wrong if one is truly thinking about the Lord. But when someone doesn’t know what to say, and they just say that as nothing, that ought to bother me. If someone was trash talking my sweet wife, they’d get a truckload of trouble from me. You don’t do that. She means too much to me. Shouldn’t we feel the same about the God we love and follow? Someone starts abusing God’s name, I’ll correct them, or I’ll leave the conversation. I will not act as if I approve or if there is nothing wrong with that. There is.
- Third, I hate every false way. The Psalmist expressed that. We ought to as well. Sin is not ok, whether it’s done by us, a family member or seen in the movies. Sin mocks God’s holy word. I cannot be happy about couples who are living together unmarried. That’s wrong. I cannot be happy about people getting divorced just because they don’t like each other anymore. That’s wrong. I cannot be happy about wrong. Some misuse their position in universities or sports or Hollywood or politics to mock and ridicule God. I cannot be afraid of them nor approve of that. In this current season of national politics, I’m hearing brethren say, “abortion isn’t the only issue.” That’s right. But, abortion is an issue. Abortion is legalized murder. I cannot overlook that. I cannot say the other matters are more important. Current culture wants to legalize drugs, especially marijuana. I cannot support that. Nothing godly, righteous or good will come from that. It leads to cancer faster than cigarettes do. It is addictive. It does not strengthen families, marriages or souls. Now, what I do when I hate false ways is important. Hating one wrong does not give me the permission to do wrong. I hate abortion. That does not give me the right to bomb abortion clinics or hunt down doctors that preform abortions and harm them. One wrong does not justify another wrong. I do not like abusive police who use their badge to do what they want. But, in disliking abusive police, I do not and can not throw a brick through a store window in protest or spit in another policeman’s eye. Not all police are abusive. Not all police are bad. Hating the bad does not give me the right to be bad.
There is a time to hate. How you express it says much. Our power is not in tearing down things physically, but in arguments of truth. Jesus reminded His disciples to turn the cheek when they have been struck. He ordered Peter to put away the sword when He was arrested. The world hates. It hates goodness. It hates truth. It hates Jesus. We will be hated because of the name of Jesus. While on the cross Jesus uttered no threats. Rather, He forgave His crucifiers. His hatred of sin took Him to the cross.
In these turbulent times, it is easy to become what we don’t like in others. There is a time to hate. Know when that time is and know just how to do that and remain holy, righteous and godly. Those qualities go together when manifested properly.