Skip to main content

Has it gone systemic?

There are not many times in scripture where we are actually told it is okay to "hate" something, but when we are given this instruction it usually has something to do with evil or bad stuff.  For example, in both Exodus and Deuteronomy we are told God hates it when his kids worship other gods.  It doesn't say we are to hate worshipers who worship other gods, but that God hates this behavior in his kids.  In Deuteronomy 23, the Israelites were given specific instructions not to hate two groups of people - the Edomites and the Egyptians.  The Edomites were actually their relatives and the Israelites had actually spent time dwelling in the land of the Egyptians.  Hatred toward these two people groups was actually instructed against.  We are also told that God hates people who cheat (use false weights) in order to take advantage of another individual.  Psalm 5 tells us God hates those who make secret plans to hurt others.  In fact, God tells us it is really all right to "hate" anything which leads people the wrong way.  In other words, we are to be unwilling to embrace or accept those things which lead people down paths of destruction.  Instead, we are to live as positive examples of his love and be those who direct (through both the example of our lives and the words of our mouth) others to follow in paths which lead to the best outcomes for their lives.

Hate evil, you who love the Lord.  He protects his followers and saves them from evil people.  Light and happiness shine on those who want to do right. Good people, be happy in the Lord!  Praise his holy name!  (Psalm 97:10-12 ERV)

We often see David recounting this teaching in his own life.  He pointed out the pathway of the ungodly (those who have not yet said yes to Jesus in their lives) as leading to destruction.  This path is something he often spoke of "hating" - because in refusing to do what God says, they were choosing to live outside of God's grace and this was dangerous territory for them.  There were times when he would express his frustration of how long he had to put up with people who hated to follow after peace in their own lives and the life of others.  Why?  The friction and tension created by this "hatred of peace" is destructive in any community.  It tears down fragile hearts and puts up walls of hatred which are harder to bring down later on in life.  

Solomon recounted the things God hates to see in the lives of his kids - because those things tear us down, create division in the community of faith, paint a negative testimony of God's grace to those who don't understand much about God, and give us grief beyond what we may want to be dealing with down the road.  There is one passage in Proverbs which pretty well sums it up:  To respect the Lord means to hate evil. I hate pride and boasting, evil lives and hurtful words. (Proverbs 8:13 ERV)  Hatred is the opposite of respect, is it not?  Hatred causes a repulsion, respect draws us together.  To respect the Lord means we come to a personal place of hating evil - first in our lives and then in the world around us.  

When we develop the "right attitude" toward evil (that which is morally wrong), then we are more likely to avoid heading in the direction of evil!  This is the purpose of Solomon's instruction to "hate evil" - to avoid its path.  The pathway of evil leads to destruction - suffering and disaster leave many lives riddled along its pathway!  When we "want" to do right, God is faithful to help us do right.  When we develop a healthy "hatred" of evil in our own lives, God is pleased to come alongside to help us steer clear of those things which will bring decay, ruin, and injury into our lives.  Some call "evil" a force of nature that just gives rise to wickedness and sin.  They are not far from the truth on this one.  It is within our "nature" to pursue some of the most harmful stuff. This should give us a clue that we need help to get our "nature" turned around so as to not be as "inclined" toward those things which only bring harm to us and others around us.

All action begins with the determination of thought which says we no longer want to pursue the particular path we are on, or that we desire to follow a new path marked out for us.  Since action begins in thought, we need God's help to purify our thoughts - pointing out to us those thought patterns which are harmful, hurtful, and bordering on producing "evil" (actions which are morally wrong).  As he does this, we must be willing to lay down these oftentimes "long-held" beliefs, patterns of thinking, and memories.  They are what is bringing "decay" into our lives, so ridding ourselves of these thoughts is what can actually help to bring health into our minds and positive actions into our daily walk.  Even the smallest amount of decay in a tooth had the capability of destroying not only the tooth where it has taken hold, but those teeth around it, and then far into the gums, and even into the entire person's bloodstream!  Who knew a tiny bit of decay had this much harmful potential? I think God does!  This is why he gives us this instruction to hate evil - it has a "decaying potential" far beyond what we may believe possible.  Embrace even the tiniest bit and we are opening ourselves up for what could become a "systemic problem" in our lives!  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean