Grief and Hatred

1 John 2:9 (NIV)
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.

Hate is a strong word. I hate what I see going on in Syria. I hate the deception that breaks relationships. I hate gossip, and malicious whispering. I hate whatever is in warfare with God and his gospel in Jesus.

Sometimes, though, I find myself wondering whether we should hate as much as we do. I wonder whether many of the things we hate are things that we should really be grieving over.

Hate, you see, keeps it all out there. You can hate stuff on the other side of the world, and not be particularly affected by it. But if you grieve over something, it’s like you have to let it have you a little, let it enter your life. When you grieve you feel something of the heaviness, the brokenness, and the grit of it between your teeth.

We all know God hates sin and wrongdoing. But I wonder whether sometimes God grieves more than he hates.

What do you think? Does God grieve about us and our world more than he hates what he sees going on?

2 thoughts on “Grief and Hatred

  1. I believe that God hates the sin, but grieves over the sinners. We can do the same in our lives and daily walk with Him.

    • Thanks Rhonda. I believe the distinction between the sin and the sinner is a helpful one, and many have made it. I suppose I carry two tensions: The first is to recognise that while God grieves over sin, he also hates it. It is totally opposed to his character and what he is bringing about through Jesus. I think Francis Chan is right when he says that we tend to minimise the ‘fear of God’, and that we do not take it seriously enough.

      The other tension is that Christians have often been too easy to express hatred of others whom they perceive as sinners. Their hatred becomes a device to keep them away from the uncomfortable realities of a fallen world and broken people.

      So, yes, without wanting to minimise God’s hatred for sin and everything that works against his life in people and our world, I think we should be grieving for the lostness and brokenness around us as opposed to pushing it away with our hatred.

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