Debbie Salter Goodwin
A Time to . . .
Hate explodes on our TV screens in so many ways. Hate, under the guise of justified wrong, parades its angry eyes, shoots its venomous words and divides and destroys. And the world is not better for it.
So how can Solomon with so much wisdom carve out any time for hate? For anyone? How could he possibly give anyone permission to participate in something so destructive and delusional? Sliding off the backside of love to find a time to hate just doesn’t make sense.
But what if hate is not just the opposite of love? What if God-directed hate comes from love so pure and undefiled that it cannot tolerate what would destroy love’s transforming power? What if the hate Solomon speaks of comes from a place so saturated by God’s love that it is better-known as grief for all the loss that hate produces.
The problem is that we assign our own targets for hate. We magnify our dislikes, enlarge our disgruntlements. We rant. We protest. We make hate sound like our duty and right. We participate in the world’s rhetoric and feel no regret.
God so loved this world that He hates what separates any person from His loving purpose and plan. He calls this separating abomination sin, but you can call it anything that divides or destroys. You can call it abuse, adultery, murder, jealousy, lies, theft, immorality, desecration of the sacred. When the perversion of God’s love eats at your heart to the point of grief, you will know the heart of God better. You will know hate as cry for a return to God that restores and heals. You will fight the right enemy, the enemy of our souls, not the hate-filled, pain-warped person who needs God.
We’ve see examples of such love. Mother Teresa, soft-spoken, hard-hitting love servant of God who hated the poverty and perversion that brought disease and disablement. We think of her as a model of love. But without a hate for the sin that chained people to cruel enslavement; she could not have loved so forcefully, so powerfully.
Jesus, Himself, loved without discrimination. His pure, untainted love moved him to compassion for people wandering without a true leader of their souls. He gave Pharisees the same opportunity to accept his love as he gave prostitutes. He was not soft-spoken. He was direct and uncompromising. Yet, those caught in the act of sin who wanted to be free of it, did not see any hate; only love.
That’s the hard part: hating what God does not love without allowing hate to take the upper hand. For if all a person sees is our hate or anger or disapproval, they will never be drawn to the love we want them to know. The answer is not just to love more or better. The answer is always in being loved. By God. First. Always first.
This is the message we need to apply in our families where many sins have robbed unity. This is the message we need in our political arena where it is too easy to recognize hate before love. This is the message we need in our hearts where our hate language has gone inward to desecrate what God always called beautiful. When a time to hate has been examined, sifted, God-purposed and purified; it becomes a time for restoration and empowerment. Never let it disintegrate into anything less.