The bumper sticker proudly proclaims, “Hatred is not a family value.” The owner of the vehicle is a paragon of 21st century thinking: enlightened, tolerant, advanced. Bigotry and hatred have been removed from his vocabulary. He stands as a man who has evolved beyond the stereotypical American with his baggage from a previous unenlightened age. In his broad-mindedness, he has learned to be tolerant of all differences and to welcome all dissenting views in the intellectual climate of honest exchange and mutual understanding.
But does he really, in the depth of his being, believe that there is nothing left to hate? Does he teach his children tolerance for murder, drug addiction, moral perversion, and a host of other social ills and crimes? Does he stand tolerantly by as genocide occurs in various parts of our world? Is he not shocked at some of the news which makes headlines in our papers and periodicals?
There once was a Man, a very unique Man, Who walked here of Whom it is written, that He “loved righteousness and hated iniquity” (Heb 1:9). With the same passion and intensity with which He loved all that was pure and holy, to the same degree and with the same intensity and passion, He hated iniquity. He loved sinners and could show compassion to the woman of John 8, the failing disciple of John 20, the repentant tax-gouger of Luke 19, and others. But please do not begin to think that He was tolerant of sin in any form.
Like Him, we instinctively hate sin: the moral evils of our day; the drug addiction with the tragedies that it carries in its wake; the effects of alcohol on a society that tries to forget its grief and overcome its inhibitions, and the host of societal evils which surround us. Yes, we hate with a passion all that is so abhorrent to God.
But what of those that we improperly call “lesser” sins?” What of the pride which fills our hearts? What of the jealousy, competitive spirit, aggressiveness which can mark us? What of the unforgiving spirit? The malice and backbiting gossip? Do we hate these with an equal intensity?
Do we teach our children to hate evil in all its forms? Or do we make excuses for the “darling sins” as we sometimes sing of them?
Hatred is a family value. There can be no true love without the existence and expression of hatred. Tolerance may sound good and may sell in the philosophic marketplace, but tolerance for evil has no place in a believer’s thinking.
Christ-likeness means loving what He loves, and hating what He hates. May we cultivate holiness in thought and deed. May we continue to teach our children that there are things which God hates. The Bible calls them sin.