A group of first-graders were on a field trip to a hospital. At the completion of the tour the nurse who had directed them asked, “Does anyone have a question?”
“How come the people who work here are always washing their hands?” a little fellow asked.
After the laughter had subsided, the nurse gave a great answer:
“They are ‘always washing their hands’ for two reasons. First, they love health; and second, they hate germs. ”
This story reminds us that it is possible for love and hate to correctly exist together. The Bible says regarding God, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness” (Ps 45:7).
The prophet Amos exhorted Israel to “hate evil (and to) love good” (Am 5:15). Sadly, they reversed the two and loved evil, but hated good (Mic 3:2).
The wise man reminds us that “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov. 6:17-19).
Today’s post-modern culture seems to engage in the same logic as ancient Israel–they hate good and love evil. Every kind of sin imaginable is justified with the caveat “God is a loving God.” This philosophy asserts that a loving, merciful and gracious God will overlook our sinful shortcoming regardless of how egregious.
Sexual perversity, false doctrine, unscriptural practices, and ungodly attitudes are all dismissed as being non-consequential because the Bible says “God is love.” He is characterized as a benevolent, old grandfather who pats His grandchildren on the head, with a nod and wink, all the while ignoring their mischievous ways. Apparently, those who purport such notions have not read that “God hates” sin.
I recently read about a man whose daughter admitted to him she was a lesbian. After his initial reaction of disapproval, his journey eventually led him not only to accept his daughter’s sexual choice but do it joyfully and even host their wedding. His “ah-ha’ moment came when he saw some graffiti scrawled on a wall that read “I choose love.”
While he admitted that his faith would not allow him to engage in a homosexual lifestyle, he was not judging her. His daughter claimed to love God and be a Christian. So her faith, he opined, is between her and God. And he would both accept and embrace her choice.
While I sincerely sympathize with the sentiment that loves an adult child even when they do wrong, that does not justify the wrong. It does not magically make it right. It is not a cause to celebrate. Nor is it right to rationalize the sin under the guise of love.
In my morning Bible reading, John, known as “the apostle of love” issues this warning: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn 2:15-17)
It is possible to love a person, but not love their sinful lifestyle. In fact, the Bible says we should hate the sin that defiles the flesh (Jude 22).
Jesus said “No man can serve two masters. He will either hate the one and love the other. Or else loyal to one and despise the other” (Matt 6:24).
Love for the Lord naturally leads us to hate the sphere of worldliness and its attendant wickedness. The inspired Paul instructs us to “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph 5:11). And the beloved John warned, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn 1:6).
Let us be guided, not by political correctness, societal acceptance, or catchy slogans, but by the Bible, God’s inspired Word.
There is a right kind of love. And a wrong kind of love. Don’t love the “love” that God hates.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman