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30 January 2008

Wow!!!!!!

...when one exclamation point just isn't good enough.

It's been said that the reason expletives are used so often is that our society now tends to go overboard in its expressions. Whether this is due to a limited vocabulary or a desire to state something in a way that's bigger and better and better than the next guy, I'm not sure. Of course, advertising media has pounded this into our heads, too. No longer are fast-food value meals topping out at large, they are "Super-Size[d]." Coffee sizes don't go to down to "small" at one coffee-selling chain; they're "Tall," "Grande," and "Venti."

"Hate" is one of those extreme words I've attempted to remove from my vocabulary except when it really, honestly applies. For instance, I don't hate rice. I don't like it and I'd rather eat just about anything else (other than food containing curry or any form of celery), but I don't hate rice. (I'm thankful that I wasn't born in an Asian country. I'd be in a tough spot.)

We've learned to soft-pedal the word "hate," and it no longer carries with it the intensity that the word should truly imply. "Hate" actually comes from the Old English word "hatain," which means to... ah... "hate."

"You who love the Lord, hate evil!" (Psalm 97:10, NKJV)

"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me." (Psalm 101:3, NKJV)

"Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life." (Psalm 119:104, NLT)

"I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love your instructions." (Psalm 109:163, NLT)

Wow!!!!! (Oh, sorry...) There is, indeed, precedent and license for Christ-followers to hate something, after all.

(This post, by the way, is not addressing verses wherein something like, "I hate those who do evil," is said, nor is it addressing the popular phrase, "Love the sinner, hate the sin," a statement which has been used by Christians to justify ungodly and destructive actions. Those are at least two different topics. I'm focusing strictly on our own internal issues today. Please try to avoid addressing the former in the comments.)

I find myself wondering if I really hate evil -- words, motives, and actions that I know are sin and go against what my relationship with Christ is built upon. Do I hate those things, or do I simply prefer to walk with Christ?

Understand that we often can't flip a mental or spiritual switch and simply begin to hate evil any more than a builder can take a concept from blueprint to finished product within in a day. Getting to the point of hating sin within our lives is a process -- the renewing of our minds -- brought on by cultivating a relationship with God.

However, we can't use this growth process as a license to continue on in whatever way we find most comfortable. Using the excuse, "I know I should do this (or shouldn't do that); but God's still working on me," is honestly a little weak. The fact that we'd have that kind of thought at all is an indicator that we know what's right, but we're intentionally making a choice to not act in that manner.

Your (and my) assignment for the rest of the week: catch yourself every time you say the word "hate." Ask yourself if you really mean that about the thing to which you're referring (and correct yourself as needed). Then ask yourself if that sentiment is the same one you'd apply to sin in your life.

8 comments:

Preston N said...

Great Post! I once recall seeing a video sermon by a pastor who gave one of the most stiring accounts on this subject. If I could recommend it, here is the link to if you would like to watch it http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8334755498524920140

If as Christians we want to understand how our Father in heaven "hates" sin then all we really need to do is look upon the cross and see our dying Savior to see just how far God will go to express His hatred of sin. That alone is what should break our hearts and we in return also hate sin with such Godly sorrow.

Bill Fowler said...

Such is the dichotomy of human existence. Absolution means nothing without Sin, the same as light means little without dark, etc. - one necessitates the other. We were made to sin and therefore be saved. I cannot stop sinning any more than I can stop being. I think God hates sin unchecked. Grace tells me that while he hates it, he's willing to deal with it. Thus, the Good News.

Pam said...

If a person can go 5 minutes without sinning, then it is possible to go longer by the power of Christ and what He did on the Cross. What makes us different from the non believer? Christ being crucified was to be a reminder to people the cost of sin. The Holy Spirit was sent so that we may resist temptation (sin) and turn away from evil. If the best you can do for God is to sin in thought, word and deed everyday, there is not a sin problem, it's a motivational one. Just my 2 cents

Preston N said...

Would you ever make a child intentionally sick just so you could "save" them? Would you throw a child or a person into a raging river just so you could jump in and rescue them? Would the child or the person be OK with this? Would this be viewed by society as a benevolent or malicious act? Does the government prosecute such individuals who exhibit such behavior?

If this type of behavior is unacceptable for man - then how are we as humans to understand that God is indeed loving? Again it seems odd that God would create man with the inability to stop sinning and yet send countless people into Hell for sinning. If God requires us to love him with all of our heart, soul and might - then i think man has the obligation and the ability to do so. If not you've made God into something other than loving.

Christy said...

Personally I don't think that we truly hate sin at all. If we did we wouldn't watch what we watch on TV, movies, video games, the internet, or listen to what we listen to on the radio, the news, etc. We are completely immune to hating sin. If only we could honestly say like the psalmist, Psalm 101:3 (New International Version) “I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.”

Christy said...

Maybe I shouldn't have said, we are "immune to hating sin" but rather we are callous toward sin? I hope my comment wasn't misinterpreted. God has freed Christ followers from the chains of sin. We do NOT HAVE to sin, but unfortunately we choose to more often than not. The apostle Paul shared his personal struggle with this in Romans 7:7-25.

Dean Lusk said...

Wow!(!!!!!) Thanks for all the comments! And this post isn't even that old yet...

These Scriptures have come to mind:

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." - Galtians 5:16, NKJV

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10, NKJV

Preston N said...

To bring this back to Dean's original post - the very fact that we have the ability to love or hate something makes us accountable before God. Clearly if God puts forth a moral obligation (to Love God/Hate sin), then we must have the ability to do it. I agree with Dean, that we just can't flip a switch one day to just decide to hate evil, but this is where our love of Christ comes in to effect. The issue with sin is we have determined that pleasing ourselves is of higher value than loving God or our fellow man. When a person comes to salvation they have changed the motive of their heart (will) from hating God and loving sin to hating sin and loving God.

As Jesus says "If you Love me you will keep my commandments". Love is what allows us to keep the commandments or should I say motivates us to keep the commandments.

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