God’s Love-Hate Relationship

October 17th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 6: 16-19 (NLT)

 16 There are six things the Lord hates—
      no, seven things he detests:
 17 haughty eyes,
      a lying tongue,
      hands that kill the innocent,
 18 a heart that plots evil,
      feet that race to do wrong,
 19 a false witness who pours out lies,
      a person who sows discord in a family.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Hate.  A word that makes us squirm when mentioned in the same breath as God.  The God that our culture has mentally fashioned is incapable of hate.  He is cognizant of cultural issues and sensitive to the likes, dislikes, and whims of a politically correct society.  God must play by culture’s rules and the rules are simple: God can only love. 

Love.  Sounds right, doesn’t it?  Doesn’t the Bible say that “God is love” or something like that? (Actually, it’s exactly like that.)  God supposedly loves everyone, lacking the capacity to hate.  I mean, come on . . . who wants to believe in, much less follow, a God who hates?  Hate is simply incompatible with love.  Therefore, if God hates, He cannot simultaneously love.  He must do one or the other.

Rules.  Now, society seems unconcerned that these rules are completely different from the standards that they themselves live by.  It’s perfectly okay for “normal” people to hate certain things in life. Taxes.  Traffic jams.  Mondays.  These are shallow in comparison to other culturally-accepted hatreds.  Child abuse.  Terrorism.  Wall Street scandals.  No one assumes that if a person hates these things that they cannot be capable of love.  But not with God.  The mention of hatred automatically neutralizes his claim to love.  Society cannot tolerate a relationship with a God who hates.

Relationship.  Something we all have with someone.  Based on an exchange of information, emotions, words, and actions.  Opinions are perpetually shaped and reshaped based on a combination of history, present events, and future expectations.  Loves and hates are key to relationship; they deepen our understanding of each other.  Laura loves bundling up when the weather begins to get colder.  However, she hates to eat ice cream in the winter.  Look!  A love and a hate simultaneously coexisting!  In fact, knowledge of both has deepened my relationship with her (or in this case, it may actually be caustic to our marriage because I don’t discriminate against ice cream for seasonal reasons. Any weather is ice cream weather.)  Perhaps understanding what God hates may help us know Him better too.

God.  The focus of this passage isn’t a person.  Some would say that the focus is on the actions. You know the old religious adage “hate the sin, love the sinner.”  Not my favorite expression, but it definitely has some merit.  In my opinion, the focus of God’s hate goes beyond even the negative action.  What He really seems to hate is the cause of the action.  He doesn’t just hate people who do things; He hates the root cause of what leads people to do these things.  Notice how specific the list is, beginning with a body part: the eyes.

Eyes.  The windows to the soul.  Which eyes does God specifically hate?  “Haughty” ones. Another term would be “prideful.”  Simple really, God hates it when eyes are full of pride and focused on self.  Not humble.  Self-centered.  Only seeing life by what one can personally gain from it. Always thinking that one’s own way is the right way.  Tunnel vision through the mountain of self.  Eyes are one body part; the tongue is the next.

Tongue.  No surprise here.  Not all tongues, mind you; God just can’t stand lying ones.  Reminds me a bit of yesterday’s Daily Thread.  Lying doesn’t fully exist until it is spoken. The tongue seals the deal on a lie.  God’s none too fond of lying tongues . . . or of murderous hands.

Hands.  A logical progression.  Hands seem to be capable of doing more physical damage than eyes or tongues (unless you’ve got some crazy strong eyeballs).  Not just hands, but hands that “kill the innocent.”  For all the “God-hate” haters out there, maybe this particular hate doesn’t sound so bad?  Doesn’t even an evil culture hate those who murder the innocent?  Hmmm, I wonder where that underlying and natural aversion to violence towards the innocent comes from? It’s almost as if it’s a leftover remnant of the image in which humanity was created, an image we’ve distorted pretty badly, yet still exists somewhere beneath the layers of rejection.  Sorry to ramble.  The list continues inward to the heart.

Heart.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  God hates hearts?  Sounds kind of harsh, doesn’t it?  Well, consider this: if you had an artery in your heart that was ninety-five percent blocked and constantly caused you health problems and threatened your life, would you “hate” that blockage? Sure you would.  The heart-hating of God is really about a disdain for that which sickens the soul. It’s a hate for the blockage.  In this case, the blockage is the plan to do “evil.”  Sometimes, we stumble into sin.  Other times, we make a plan, fashion a diving board, and do our best cannonball right into it.  Yeah, God hates it when our hearts are in the wrong place, devising the wrong thing.  That which the heart has planned, the feet will take us to carry out.

Feet.  The key to one’s walking ability.  Again, at times we stumble; but God can’t stand it when someone’s feet are deliberately “racing to do wrong.”  This is the snapshot of one’s daily walk. Wrong-racing feet produce many a stubbed toe.  

The end of the list is pretty heavy, yet predictable.  God hates it when people are false witnesses– deliberately presenting elaborate falsehoods as if they are true.  Lastly, God hates “discord in the family.”  Discord means dissension or a lack of unity.  A family divided.  It reminds me of my guitar when the strings aren’t properly tuned; the chords that result are not pretty . . . discord. God’s feelings are pretty strong towards those who initiate such discord.  Hate may sound heavy, but consider God’s motivation . . . the unity of the family.  Imagine how different the world would be if people shared God’s hatred of division among families.  Marriages would still be together and vibrant.  Children would have both parents at home.  Love would be strong and steady in the family.  

All in all, an examination of what God hates doesn’t offend me; instead, it helps me better understand what’s important to Him.  To me, all that God considers hatable makes Him that much more lovable.  What’s important is that we understand that God does not hate us.  He may hate the sickness within us or the motivations that lead us astray, but even His hate is motivated by love.  His love is so strong towards those whose lifestyles He hates that He was willing to be hated Himself so that we could be loved.  Now that’s some love-hate relationship!

His love has given us the freedom to removed from the list of things He hates.


~ by johndriver on October 17, 2008.

One Response to “God’s Love-Hate Relationship”

  1. Duuuuude, that was crazy. I’m going to go ahead and say that God’s love is probably the cooliest thing that ever happened to mankind. “His love has given us the freedom to be removed from the list of things He hates.” That is so true, and can relate to everybody, especially me. Through my mistakes, that I chose to make with the free will that God gave me, he loves me enough to wipe them away and give me a clean record. It sort of reminds me of kindergarden. After each mistake, a color card would be pulled from my name. Strike one- go to blue. Strike two- go to green. Strike three and four- yellow and red. But with God, even though my cards were pulled, he still put a gold star by my name. That gold star took away the past mistakes, and allowed me to start over. So basically, it’s Gods love AND forgivness that gives us the freedom to be removed from the things he hates.That’s what I got out of it. I love you PJ.

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