Hate, pure hate!
If you're a Carpenters fan, you weren't expecting that, I know. The lyrics to their song have often bothered me, because of the lines that tell the Lord what we need and what we don't. But recently, they've bothered me in a different way. I've been overwhelmed by the immense love of God lately, and can't help but think that we're the ones responsible for the seeming lack of love, not God...His is immeasurable. However, while I agree that we do, in fact, need to love more, I am also convinced that we need more hate...hatred for sin!
I would guess that 99.9% of you would answer this question with a resounding yes, "Do you hate sin?" I would have joined that statistic, as well, before a great conversation with my dear friend, Cheryl Howe. We discussed how much we wish we hated sin!
Unfortunately, my life does not portray my hatred of sin. And I sincerely believe that if 99.9% of Christians did indeed hate their sin, this world would look different. In fact, maybe even the Carpenters wouldn't have needed to sing such a song about the lack of love in the world.
Romans 12 has a great list of righteous behaviors to those of us who long to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. We're told to live sacrificially (vs. 1), renew our minds (vs. 2), live humbly (vs. 3), use our gifts generously (vs. 4-8), love sincerely (vs. 9), cling to good (vs. 9), commit to love (vs. 10), honor others (vs. 10), serve passionately (vs. 11), hope joyfully (vs. 12), have patience in trials (vs. 12), pray faithfully (vs. 12), share with the needy (vs. 13), offer hospitality (vs. 13), bless persecutors (vs. 14), rejoice with the joyful (vs. 15), mourn with the mourning (vs. 15), live harmoniously (vs. 16), interact with people humbly regardless of status (vs. 16), respond to evil without evil (vs. 17), live blamelessly (vs. 17), live peacefully (vs. 18), let God take revenge (vs. 19), give food and drink to the hungry and thirsty (vs. 20), repay evil with good (vs. 21).
Tucked in the middle of all of these is one that we often overlook, or maybe just misunderstand. Verse 9 tells us to "hate what is evil."
Again, most of us would honestly say that we hate evil - we hate theft, murder, rape and pornography. That is why we don't participate in them.
But do we hate immodesty? Do we hate laziness? Do we hate the irreverent use of God's name? Do we hate our lack of discipline with our money, time or eating? Sure. We dislike it. But do we hate it? Enough to turn the TV off when we see an inappropriate commercial exploiting women in too little clothing or hear God's name taken in vain? Enough to stop spending hours on Facebook when we haven't spent time in prayer or God's Word? Enough to sacrifice "me" time to invest in the lives of others? Enough to pray about a purchase rather than buying impulsively? Enough to go to bed at a decent hour so as not to be exhausted all the time? Enough to actually stop eating when we're so full it hurts?
I must confess, I don't hate my sin. I like it. I like it enough to make excuses for it. I like it enough to make jokes about it. I like it enough to still "struggle" after being convicted 10 years ago of the same junk! I like it too much to turn it off!
I could probably love so much more than I do, but I believe that the first thing I need more of is hate...hatred for my sin. In fact, I bet the solution to the deficiency of love is...hate.
The world needs to see God's love, but they must see with it God's hatred for sin. The world needs to know that they need God's love, because of their sin. Because of our love for others, we must speak the truth about sin, and we must hate it!
So go out and HATE a little more this week!