<<extreme dislike>>

Hatred is a strong emotion, whereby malice can quickly escalate out of control, leading to disastrous consequences, with the hostility bringing friction and division in families and even causing nations to be at war. The Bible warns that when bitterness (a form of hatred) takes root it causes much trouble and ruins people’s spiritual lives so we should try to find mutually beneficial solutions to life’s problems, and not retaliate by trying to get even, for it can sometimes rebound (Est 5:9-7:10; Heb 12:15).

As we grow in our understanding of God’s character and attributes the more we will detest those things that are contrary to His Word and nature – “Let those who love the Lord hate evil” (Ps 97:10; Prov 8:13). Righteous hatred is directed at the action not the perpetrator, when people are mistreated or God is dishonoured; like God, we are to love

God hates sin, but loves the sinner – we should too

and have mercy on people yet have a hatred of sin and its devastating effects (Eccl 3:8). While refusing to ignore, condone or excuse sin we can pray for sinners and show them respect, yet also speak the truth of God’s Word in love, pointing out immoral and ungodly decisions, though this must not be in an offensive, aggressive or judgmental manner (Eph 4:15; 1 Tim 2:1; 1 Pet 2:17).  

Hate is the opposite of love and is a characteristic of one who walks in spiritual darkness, with the Bible even stating, ‘anyone who hates his brother is a murderer’ meaning they disregard another’s welfare and life, not valuing those also made in God’s image (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19,20; 1 Jn 2:9,11, 3:15).

We are instructed to pray for those that hate us, with love being the reaction to the hatred directed at us. Jesus, Himself, was hated without any reason (Mt 5:43,44; Lk 6:27; Jn 15:18,24,25).  As followers of Jesus, the world will hate us because of our association with Him, and our lives will convict them of sin (Mt 10:22, 23:13, 24:9; Lk 6:22; Jn 15:18-25, 17:14; 1 Pet 4:4).

Jesus said we can’t serve God and money at the same time, we will love one and hate the other with one taking the priority or preference over the other (Mt 6:24). As disciples of Jesus we must love Him with such intensity that our love for our families and selves is hatred by comparison, and no rational person hates his own body instead feeds and cares for it (Lk 14:26; Jn 12:25; Eph 5:29).

God said about His Son, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness” (Heb 1:9). Can that be said of me?

See also: anger, bitterness, emotions, love, resentment.