True Confession of the Heart: My Hatred Is Strong
by Todd Shupe
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them” (1 John 2:9-11 NIV).
Holy Scripture encourages us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). I have a confession to make. I have deep seated hatred in my heart. I refuse to consider my hatred a sin. In fact, I hope you have the same hatred I do. Scripture teaches us in 1 John 3:15, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Throughout Scripture we find warnings against hatred toward one another. I know this is true, but my hatred persists and grows. I pray for it to grow each day. I have no hatred toward any person. My hatred is toward sin. Our sin acts as a barrier in our journey to become more like Christ.
Jesus commanded us in Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” To draw closer to God, we also need to hate what is evil with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength.
Romans 12:9 teaches us, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
Sin is evil and is to be hated. Hatred of moral evil and of sin ought to be accompanied by cleaving to that which is good. We deceive ourselves when we cling to the good but our silence is deafening in the face of evil. As the great Edmund Burke once said, “for evil to succeed, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.” Paul’s loathing of evil was absolute, and equally intense and complete was his cleaving to that which is good. In both concepts, and their inter-relationships, he makes God known to us and presents the standard for Christian living.
It is important to note that Paul did not say “Choose against evil and choose good.” His words are very strong. Choosing is not enough. It doesn’t signal deep moral transformation. Remember the meaning of hypocrisy—changing the outside with willpower choices. Now Paul says, don’t just avoid evil, but hate evil. Don’t just choose good, embrace the good. Love the good. The journey of Christian living is a battle mainly to get our emotions changed, not just our behavior. The Holy Spirit seeks to change us on the inside. Then, our actions and words will be a natural manifestation of the Spirit and all that see us will see Him.
Prayer: Dear God, Grant us the courage to not only love what is good but to reject and renounce in Your name all that is evil. Search us and use what is good and prune all that is evil. Amen.
About the Author:
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.