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What does the Bible say about hate?

Hate is just as universally present as love. Sometimes it feels easier to hate than to love, especially when the world seems harsh and unfair. The haters of the world and the feelings of hate aren't going away anytime soon. We've all had our own personal encounters with hatred, hating, and being hated. It's never really a good time. Thankfully, the Bible can teach us a lot about hate—what it is, when it's appropriate, and how to process it.

A Good Kind of Hate

The Bible says there's actually a justifiable kind of hate. Crazy, right? Psalm 97:10 and Romans 12:9 tell us to hate what is evil. Proverbs 6:16-19 gives a whole list of sin God hates. Hate is appropriate when we direct it toward that which is in direct opposition to God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to naturally detect sin within us and around us. As we grow to be more like Jesus, we will begin to see evil as He does. That said, while it's OK to hate evil, we are not to hate other people.

A Bad Kind of Hate

Being a hater of people or groups of people is never OK, though we see it so often these days. To say, "I hate them!" is wholly un-Christlike. To be racist, classist, discriminatory, or prejudiced is wrong. Proverbs 10:12 teaches that "hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses." As Christians, we are not to hate anybody. Instead, we are to love all people as Christ loves us (1 John 4:11).

1 John 4:20 says, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." We cannot say we have the love of Christ in us if we hate others.

Processing Feelings of Hate

Hatred can be described as the "root of bitterness" (Hebrews 12:15), and we need to avoid dwelling on those hateful feelings. Jesus says that if anyone hates a fellow disciple, they will be placed under judgment (Matthew 5:22). But sometimes anger and hate flares up, doesn't it? Sometimes it's difficult to get past it, especially in the moment. We don't always have control over those emotional flare ups, but what we DO have control over is our response to those feelings.

We can choose not to dwell on the hate. Choose not to keep playing offenses over and over in our heads. Choose to love one another (John 13:34) and to be reconciled (Matthew 5:23-27). Where there is love, hate tends to dissolve. And, with love, comes forgiveness. Mark 11:25 encourages us to forgive others when we pray so God can help us with our feelings of hate and hurt.

God knows what's in our hearts. When we hold onto bitter resentment and hate toward others, we are violating God's command for us to love one another. Hate is an ugly thing that can lead to vengeful actions and ultimately create wounds in our own hearts.

Even if someone is mean or hurtful or just doing dumb things that make life harder, we must work on forgiving them—just as the Lord forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). That doesn't mean it'll be automatic or easy, but learning to release hatred is something we ought to work toward.

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TL;DR

We are to hate what is evil (Romans 12:9), but we are not to hate others. Holding onto hate toward other people or people groups is a sin and damages our relationship with God as well as our own hearts. If we have a disagreement with anyone, we need to work to settle it, then strive for restoring love, extending forgiveness, and establishing peace (John 13:34).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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