Christians are admonished not to hate. Does the Bible substantiate this? Is hatred ever justified? The Bible instructs us to hate evil and its consequences, and while we are not to hate people, we are instructed to hate the evil things they do. Consider these Scriptures: “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil . . . ” (Ps. 97:10). “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Prov. 8:13). The kind of hating that is acceptable to God has an aversion to evil. To hate evil means one should manifest the emotional attitude that opposes, detests, despises, and avoids contact or any relationship with evil. Hatred is what separates and divides; it is man’s foe. Love, on the other hand, draws, unites, and Christians are to love that which is good (Amos 5:15). Those who fear God depart from evil (Job 28:28, Ps. 34:14; 37:27, Prov. 3:7; 16:6, 17).
As the Creator, God alone has the power to determine what is good and what is evil. Men do not possess this right. While men have been allowed to follow either right or wrong, they have never been given the right to determine the difference. God alone-the Lawgiver-decided this eons ago.
A look at human behavior quickly tells us some things we should hate. Proverbs 6:16-19 is a good example. “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
First, let us consider “a proud look.” A prophecy by Isaiah describes this modern day conduct, and how it will be dealt with. One’s countenance depicts his inward attitude and frame of mind. A proud look displays an attitude of arrogance. This is why the Bible states: “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11). Arrogance is regarded as a sin. “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin” (Prov. 21:4). The word “plowing” means “freshly plowed,” or “fallowed,” that is, the work or labor of a high look and proud heart is evil. A proud look is an abomination in the sight of God. “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD . . . ” (Prov. 16:5). One with an inward attitude that displays a proud look has no realization of the low status of man in the sight of God. While man is the crowning physical creation of God, he has no preeminence above a beast. “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity” (Eccl. 3:19). This is one of the reasons God says He will not suffer a proud heart (Ps. 101:5). Man simply cannot afford to be arrogant.
While there are many manifestations of this attitude, Paul describes a distinctive problem among Christians. He refers to arrogant teachers.
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Tim. 6:3-5)
The word “doting” in the above text means “sick,” that is, the one doing the doting is suffering from a form of mental illness and is completely off balance, obsessed with his personal views. We need simply to read about the fruits of such conduct in the above passage to see that the “plowing of the wicked is sin.”
Then, in Proverbs 6:17, we read about “a lying tongue,” clearly a reference to one who is untruthful. There are a number of Scriptures that refer to “a lying tongue.” The Hebrew meaning of “lying tongue” refers to one who neither loves nor tells the truth, a reference to a habitual liar. Many people today think lying is a trivial matter. It is so common that it is becoming acceptable everywhere. People have little or no realization that this sin is forbidden by the ninth commandment. What is the real source of lying? Jesus told the religious leaders of His day: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Often people who are habitual liars cannot stop lying. The damage they do cannot be underestimated. “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted [crushed] by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Prov. 26:28). “As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Prov. 26:18-19).
Some liars have said: “I do not know why I lie when the truth would serve me better?” Those who profess Christ do not practice lying. No lie is of the Truth (1 John 2:21). While many may not realize it, speaking the truth is a requirement for salvation. Who, then, will be in God’s kingdom? “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart” (Ps. 15:2). What will happen to those who practice lying? ” . . . The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev. 22:14-15).
Proverbs 6:17 states that another thing God hates is “hands that shed innocent blood.” This text is not talking about the shedding of guilty blood; it is talking about innocent blood. God instituted capital punishment for the purpose of public safety and for the decency of society. The Law of God requires the death penalty for the crime of murder. Flawed human systems of justice today sometimes take innocent lives. When ancient Israel followed the laws of God this did not happen, but they did not remain faithful to God’s Way of Life for long. What injustice we witness in the courts of this present world attests to the rejection of God’s system of justice. Many heinous crimes and evils are excused or ignored in today’s society. It costs many times more to execute a criminal than to keep him or her incarcerated for life. Also many criminals are let free after a few years to repeat their crimes. These crimes may be overlooked or excused by men but they will not be overlooked in the Judgment. Neither will the irresponsibility of those in charge of the justice system be disregarded.
Following are some of the things that God will not overlook. We would do well to ponder them and to realize how indifferent many are who have not been affected by them.
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Tim. 1:9-10)
The fact is: All the blood shed on the earth goes back to the societies human beings have developed. The Bible says of this man-made system, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. 18:24). Millions of people have been and still are innocent victims of intolerance, greed, and the wars so rampant in the history of man. It is no exaggeration to say that the origin of war begins with theft.
Murder is so rampant in the United States today that some major cities rack up one or more daily, yet in the overall less than three percent of violent crimes end up on prosecution. A thief or burglar has twice the chance of being shot while carrying out his crime than in getting caught, convicted, and imprisoned. Of all violent crimes 46% are not reported to the police, and 24% are reported with no arrests. As the spiral of violence and murder continues to go unpunished, we can only expect more. In a prophecy for our day, the prophet Ezekiel wrote: “Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries” (Ezek. 22:4). Nations around the world are appalled at America’s crime rate. The prison system is a revolving door, so that today career criminals commit 75-80% of crimes. Of these career criminals 30-35% are rearrested with previous charges still pending. Of those who murder police officers, 73% have arrest records, 39% were granted judicial leniency, and 25% were on parole. The Bible requires the death penalty for career criminals. They are not innocent victims. They terrorize others and prey upon them, often committing murder. We hear much about serial killers. These are the guilty who should have their blood shed. Why is society so unsafe? “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). ” . . . The leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed” (Isa. 9:16). The fact is: Our society reeks with violence, and is absolutely full of the shedding of innocent blood. Do not fantasize that judgment will not come upon this world. It is not a matter of if; it is only a matter of when. At the time God sets up His kingdom on this earth we read: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). Christians should pray for God’s protection and anticipate that coming day.
The next thing Proverbs 6:16 lists is “an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations.” What does this mean? Here is an example. One catalog recently advertised itself as teaching people how to “get even with others.” Many people are so full of anger and feelings of revenge that they spend hours planning acts of retaliation. “For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall” (Prov. 4:16). We need not plan vengeance upon others, for God says: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). While God intended man to be an example of kindness and love, He has nevertheless allowed man to go his own way. “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions [schemes]” (Eccl.7:29).
One who truly follows Christ will not allow himself to harbor feelings of hatred and vengeance. Jesus’ instruction is: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15). Often people who plan retaliation do not allow their plans to be exposed. They act as if nothing is wrong. Proverbs 12:20 tells us: “Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil . . . . ” This kind of behavior does not reflect the mind of God. God says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). Faith in God requires trust in Him, that He will resolve in His own due time any injustices done to us. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily . . . ” (Luke18:7-8). “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Those who are unaware of God’s instruction, or refuse to heed it, seeking to “get even,” need to realize that it is they who will suffer in the end, for God hates a heart that devises wicked imaginations.
There is much evil in the world today. Many people seem only too willing to participate in things that cause harm to others. The fifth thing God hates is “feet that be swift in running to mischief [evil]” (Prov. 6:18). This kind of conduct can generally be witnessed in any riot. Usually most who participate in a riot do not even know the facts behind what caused the riot in the first place. They are led by emotion and propaganda, often the result of real or imagined wrongs exacerbated by the media. Establishments are torched, automobiles are overturned or burned, people are injured or killed-all brought about by uncontrolled passions. The Bible warns: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil . . . ” (Ex. 23:2). “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him” (Prov. 11:27). Rioters may not start out seeking mischief, but it will eventually come to them. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:14).
Uncontrolled human passions can become a terrible curse. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20). Yet, many love the way of anger, bitterness, violence, and bloodshed. They are the ones the Bible speaks of in Psalm 52:3 when it states they love evil more than good. What will be the fate of those who refuse to change this evil way of life? “God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah” (Ps. 52:5).
The sixth thing God hates is “a false witness that speaketh lies” (Prov. 6:19). It has been said that a man is only as good as his word. Many people are entirely too careless in what they say or promise. It does not take long to realize their word is no good, and that they cannot be trusted. Even worse, however, is a witness guilty of perjury. Such people swear or affirm in a court of law that they will tell the truth. Then they deliberately lie. Equally evil is a defense or prosecuting attorney who deliberately tries to make an honest man appear to be a liar. This is because deceiving the jury and winning cases is based on discrediting the witness. God hates both kinds of behavior. Why? Because such conduct does not reflect honesty. The perjurer who promises one thing, and then attempts to evade what was promised, violates the ninth commandment. And to deliberately try to make an honest man appear to be a liar is equally wrong.
Why is bearing false witness so evil? Here is the answer. “A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow” (Prov. 25:18). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Prov. 18:21). People have been incarcerated or executed on the word of a liar. What an injustice! Those who commit this sin will surely pay for it. Sometimes people lie to cover the misdeeds of others. Here is what the Bible admonishes. “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity” (Lev. 5:1). This text tells us that one who knows about a crime and covers for the criminal is just as guilty as the perpetrator. “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape” (Prov. 19:5). So what applies to liars applies to those who bear false witness. To repeat what was stated earlier in this article, what will be the fate of unrepentant liars in the final Judgment?
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev. 21:7-8)
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Rev. 22:14-15)
Those who are careless or indifferent in what they say need to analyze the seriousness of their behavior. They need to realize what Jesus said: “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
The last thing that God hates, listed in Proverbs 6, is “he that soweth discord among brethren” (v. 19). This kind of misbehavior is purely a work of the flesh. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:20 that the works of the flesh include “variance” and “strife.” Variance means “contention,” “strife,” and “wrangling,” while strife means “partisanship,” or “fractiousness.” The man or woman who sows discord among brethren is one who is competitive, self-seeking, and proud in spirit. The Bible informs us: “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered” (Prov. 28:25 NKJV). Some people, full of vanity and arrogance, cannot stand for others to excel. As a result, they will stoop to no level to gain the upper hand, regardless of the discord they cause. God hates this. We are warned of the immediate consequences. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jas. 3:14-16). What is honorable to God? “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling” (Prov. 20:3). Sometimes tough steps must be taken to bring peace and harmony. “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease” (Prov. 22:10).
What is in store for those who constantly generate discord and refuse to change? “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy” (Prov. 6:15).
A look at the seven things God hates can be found in every walk of life. Few people have escaped their results, whether or not they have been a willing participant. We cannot change other people, but with God’s help we can change ourselves. The lifestyles manifested in these seven abominations are not sufficiently appreciated for the harm they cause and the eventual consequences they will bring.
We desire God’s favor and blessings. A Psalm that outlines a manner of life that is opposite to what we find in Proverbs 6:16-19, along with the blessings that come from obedience to God, is found in Psalm 15.
LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved. (Ps. 15:1-5)