(**Intro: This blog post was written by my good friend Cody Shepherd he is a Youth Pastor in Overland Park, KS I appreciate how his words are real and honest** )
NO FEAR IN LOVE
Hate + Sin = Evil
Hate + Love = Righteousness
Confusing? Track with me for a bit. 1 John 4:18 says, "18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love."
Unlike what many lead you to believe, the opposite of love is not hate....it is fear. True love allows you the freedom to be known fully and to fail without fear of rejection. Yet, true love also allows the righteous freedom to....hate.
Show me what you hate and I will have a pretty good idea on what you hold most precious.
If you hate lying, I can tell you hold truth in high regard. If you hate infidelity, I have a good idea on your view of marriage and the commitment involved. If you hate cancer, I can tell life is very valuable to you and also you have probably been affected by this horrible condition. If you hate libel against God, you reveal that you hold the name and character of God in high regard.
In fact, did you know Proverbs 6:16-19 lists 7 things that God hates? It's a quick and amazing read because this list as much as anything reveals the love that God has for His people. When you read these 7 things you realize that everything on this list are things that incapacitate and destroy His relationship with His most cherished thing...us.
Sure, there is hate that is evil. However, it is not the hate necessarily that is evil. It's the sin behind the hate that turns the heart of the person away from the character of God and instead chooses to engage hate in sinful ways. Sin separates!
However, don't forget there is a form of hate which engages the heart of God and also chooses to engage love. This is righteous hatred. Love engages!
How then do we righteously hate? Well, let's look at the heart of Jesus in answering this. We can see throughout Scripture God's (and therefore Jesus') intense hatred of sin.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our first step in righteously hating is being specific in what is deserving of hate. Anything sinful and against the character of God is deserving of hatred. However, because each of us has chosen the path of sin at one time or another we usually instead try to make it palatable to make ourselves feel less disgusting.
There's a quote I have heard but don't know who said it. It reads, "We cannot domesticate sin like it is our pet, but rather, we must hate it and its effects."
Get to know the heart and character of God and it will begin to become apparent what things are worthy of hate. It is in the transformation and reclamation of ourselves from ourselves and to Christ that these things are revealed.
Our second step is to realize that God's hatred does not translate to His people. How do we know this? The cross of Christ is a glaring example of the lengths God will go to reclaim His people. I mean why even deal with sin if the object of sinfulness is not worth the saving? There are at least two reasons God HATES sin. First off, it is something that is opposite to his own character. But secondly, it's because it destroys His people.
Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
What Jesus chooses to do is to understand our needs and act in response to what we need and not what we want. We may have wanted Jesus to minimize sin, but instead He eliminated it (for those who choose to commit their lives to Him). We may have wanted Jesus to make a loving proclamation that sin no longer separates but He instead drove this message in blood into wood that even though the cost of sin is still death, the price has been paid.
A couple weeks ago I was working through this thought in anticipation of my youth group lesson and I came up with an acrostic (which I rarely do because they honestly annoy me sometimes). However, I feel as though this helps encapsulates how Jesus views us in light of our sin.
Having, Absolute, Total Empathy (HATE). Jesus HATES sin, but chooses to love us with empathy. If something was going to hurt you and I said or did nothing even though it might temporarily make you feel better....how hateful of a thing is that? What Jesus chooses is the path of empathy where He is willing to be honest about our sin, but then also provide our salvation from it. Jesus calls us out FOR our sin, but also frees us FROM our sin. That is the ultimate act of love.
If you want to hate the way Jesus hates, and thereby also reveal what is most worthy of love, realize it is God's people that He most cherishes. Be willing to love people and do the things that are a part of redeeming and reclaiming God's lost sheep to Him. Otherwise your hate is evil.
Hate + Sin = Evil
Hate + Love = Righteousness
It may not be PC....but then again neither is Jesus!
Love you all! I pray that you continue to seek freedom in HIM!!
- Cody Shepherd -