Kevin DeYoung has a nice little post today. He is not usually a fan of “little” ones, so I don’t read them as much as I would if they were shorter. But regardless, this is a solid one. He starts off with the statement “But I don’t really hate anyone…”
Few husbands think they hate their wives. Few Christians think they hate their fellow church members. Few children think they hate their parents. Few non-Christians think they hate anyone. I’ve never met a single person who considered himself a thoroughly hateful individual, though I know many who consider themselves quite loving. But if hate is the opposite of everything love is, where does that leave us?
Hate is impatient and unkind; hate is jealous and proud; hate is arrogant and rude. Hate always insists on doing things its way; hate gets upset over every offense and keeps a close record of every wrong. Hate does not delight to see good things, but rejoices when people screw up or get what’s coming to them. Hate complains about anything, is cynical about everything, has no hope for anyone, and puts up with nothing.
One thing that a disbelief in the gospel does is make us dishonest. We’re often scared to tell people the truth of how far we really fall short of God’s standard, particularly His high standards of loving others (Luke 10:33-37; I John 3:18). It’s fairly irrational since all of us hold to the truth that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We can say that generally, but we’re often fearful to actually admit we STILL specifically fall into that camp. The reason is that we still disbelieve the gospel in part.
One of the most common misconceptions among Christians is that we love people all the time, or even much of the time. It’s not “kosher” to admit we “hate” anyone, or “don’t like someone,” but we do, don’t we?
If we won’t admit that we actually hate or don’t like people (and such is the case if hate is the opposite of love), that we regularly fail to love spouses, neighbors, friends, co-workers, rivals, enemies-all of which may at times be present in our own congregations-then we will never actually love them. Put aside the myth that you love and like everyone, and hate no one. It’s a lie that keeps you from loving others. Now don’t be OK with hating others, but know there is One who empowers us to love better and forgive us at the same time when we fail. If we don’t admit our need to love others-because we stink at it-we’re going to be ever treading water in a lukewarm pool of culturally acceptable, dishonest niceness.