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“O you who love the LORD, hate evil.” (Psalm 97:10)

Isis flag finishedA few weeks ago Bill Maher, of HBO’s “Real Time,” accused the Navy Seal Sniper Chris Kyle, who is depicted in the movie, American Sniper, as a psychopath. Maher referenced Kyle speaking of Al-Qaeda operatives as “savages” whom he didn’t mind killing.

Maher snidely remarked, “I’m sorry.” Maher postulated, “And if you’re a Christian—I know this is a Christian country—‘I hate the damn savages’ doesn’t seem like a very Christian thing to say.”

Maher’s statement raises a few questions worthy of discussion; does being a Christian require one to love every person irrespective of their behavior? Are hateful emotions similar to the one’s expressed by Chris Kyle inconstant with being filled with the love of God? Many in the Christian community presume that God expects us love everyone equally,  both the good and evil; the Joseph Stalin’s along with the Mother Theresa’s.

But this is not so. Most know about God’s commandment to love him and our neighbor, but few are aware that he God has given us a commandment to  hate evil. For example;

“O you who love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).
“Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment (Amos 5:15).

How can this be? How can the God of love give a commandment that seems to contradict his character? When we talk about God’s attributes, we primarily focus on his mercy, love, patience, and long-suffering, as we should. But, what is entirely left out of these conversations is his hatred of evil. By so doing, we miss out on a great opportunity to deepen our understanding of his love, mercy and justice. Its my hope to show why the hating of evil is so essential to the nature of God and why he would command us to likewise.

Sin Versus Evil 

I am most certain that the vast majority of people assume the scripture in Psalms means that we are to hate the sin but love the sinner. No doubt this is inspired counsel, but its is a non-sequitur.  The scriptures cited above commands us to hate evil, not sin.  So what makes someone evil you might ask? Thats a great question but way too in-depth of a subject to summarize in one or two sentences. But consider this, does God love Satan who is the embodiment of all that is evil the same as he loves his Son Jesus Christ? If God was to love Satan as much as the Savior, what does that say about Gods Love?

For the sake of this post, when I refer to anything that is evil, I am talking about those that deliberately inflict the most heinous forms of cruelty onto humanity, including the most helpless in society like children and the elderly.

Opposition In All Things 

This idea of God hating evil is supported by the Book of Mormon. Lehi wrote, “there must be opposition in all things,” which means that God must hate what is evil as much as he loves what is good. Lehi explained how essential opposition is to God’s plan because without them;

“there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing (no opposition) must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.”

Simply put, without their being opposition in all things, God’s justice and mercy could not exist, and along with that, his love. It is Gods love and his hatred of evil that gives Justice and Mercy its legitimacy. Without there being opposition, Gods love would be rendered meaningless, being unable to distinguish between what is good and evil. As a result, this would render his justice and mercy useless.

Love Thy Neighbor 

In light of the recent atrocities in the middle east; the burning of the Jordanian Pilot alive, and the murdering of 150 school girls in Pakistan, to just name a few. I am convinced that God’s commandment to hate evil is directly tied to the second great commandment, which is to love our neighbor as our-self. No wonder our Father in Heaven says,”O you who love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10). If we truly love God, then we will do all that we can to alleviate the suffering of the innocent.

There is no better example of this than Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who stood up to the Nazi machine in defending the Jews. He believed that being a Christian meant more  than simply bandaging up “the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice…but to fall into the spokes of the wheel itself.” Thus, being filled with the love of God and hating evil are not mutually exclusive things, but act in tandem that impel us to act on behalf of those that suffer.

The Wests Broken Moral Compass 

It must be pointed out that there are real consequences when evil is not confronted. As we speak, their are unimaginable horrors taking place throughout the Islamic world. Instead of wiping these people off the face of the earth the Western elites spend their time convincing the public that the real threat to humanity is climate change and income inequality. The Western worlds refusal to fight Islamic terror is noting more than an indication of how broken their moral compass is.

Conclusion

I acknowledge that this post raises far more questions that it can answer, but the point I wish to make is that hating evil is an essential characteristic of God, and those who seek to follow Him. The comments made by Chris Kyle, in which he called the Islamic terrorist he killed savages. Such statements are completely in line with those who seek to follow Christ. After all, what else would you call those that burn people alive, that bury little children in trenches while they are still breathing, and kidnap young girls to sell as sex slaves? How on earth is the Western powers not impelled to act against the greatest evil of our time? The battle between what is good and evil could not be more clear. To not act is unchristian and immoral.

 

 

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Comments

  1. while I completely understand the reference from the bible of hating evil. I would question at what is the acceptable response to evil? Is it our responsibility to seek out and destroy them? Is that somewhere in the bible?

    How is it that these people are bad, but the Saudis aren’t, when they approach handling of situations the exact same way.

    Death for murder, treason, banditry, adultery etc..

  2. I don’t agree with this person’s interpretation of that scripture, or of the Book of Mormon. God is love, not hate, and he does not command us to hate any one person. Hating sin and behavior is not the same as hating the individuals committing the sin, and conflating the two is not a Christian—certainly not Mormon—position.

    Consider in the New Testament, where Christ teaches that he who is angry with his brother is in danger of the judgement. Later translators added the phrase “without a cause” to basically neutralize this verse and justify hatred and violence against those perceived to have aggrieved them, with in tragic consequences. The JST and the Book of Mormon both remove that phrase, because it is incorrect: we are commanded only to love, never to hate.

    The Book of Mormon backs this position up on a couple of other occasions too. When preaching to the Nephites Christ himself condemns the spirit of contention, saying that it comes not from him, but from the devil. Also, the example of Captain Moroni is informative: he showed an extraordinary amount of patience and mercy towards his enemies before he finally destroyed them in order to protect his own people. This is the approach that God takes towards us as well: pleading with us to repent until the last moment when repentance is no longer possible, and we become damned by our choices and actions.

    Still, He loves us, to the very end, and no doubt it breaks His heart to see us choose to separate ourselves from Him permanently through sin. This may be controversial, but I actually believe He still feels the same way about his son Lucifer/Satan as well: Satan is Perdition and beyond repentance, but the loss of him must still hurt Heavenly Father as much as complete and total rejection by a child would hurt any parent.

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