Someone has said, “If you love the flowers, you have to hate the weeds.”
And just as we must give all effort to love God, the truth, and others more, we could all use a little more hate too. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13)
Four times in the 119th Psalm, the writer speaks of hating evil: “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way….I hate vain thoughts, but I love your law….All your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.…I hate and abhor lying, but I love your law” (verse 104, 113, 128, 163).
Hate is a strong word. It suggests neither indifference nor simple dislike. When we consider the high cost of sin – “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), we ought to hate evil in every way it can appear: “Abstain from every form of evil” (2 Thessalonians 5:22).
You cannot successfully dabble in a little bit of evil and not be affected by it. No wonder the apostle Paul instructs us to “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
The apostle John’s instruction does not allow for an indifference toward evil: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is in not in Him” (1 John 2:15).
Because we hate the evil way, we will heed the instruction of wisdom and not go near: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away and pass on” (Proverbs 4:14-15).
We hate immorality because we know that “to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness” (Romans 6:16).
We hate error and false teaching because it damns the souls of both the teacher and those who follow: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways” (2 Peter 2:1-2).
The Lord praised the church in Ephesus for hating what He hates: “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Revelation 2:6). And He denounced the church in Pergamos for not hating what He hates: “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate” (Revelation 2:15).
We need to be sure we get on the Lord’s side by not only loving what He loves but by hating what He hates. “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10)