Tell me what you hate and I can tell you a great deal about yourself. Hatred can be the strong side of righteousness, but it needs a sign written on it with large red letters: Handle With Care.
Olive Moore, the 19th-century English writer, put words to this warning: “Be careful with hatred. . . . Hatred is a passion requiring one hundred times the energy of love. Keep it for a cause, not an individual. Keep it for intolerance, injustice, stupidity. For hatred is the strength of the sensitive. Its power and its greatness depend on the selflessness of its use.”
We tend to waste our hatred on insignificant slights and differences. Comments made by a political opponent may draw our venom. Angry letters written to the editor often raise trivia to the level of significance because of the pathology of our misdirected hatred. Churches fracture and split when hatred is directed at people and not at the forces around us that destroy life and hope.
The old Methodist circuit riders were described as men who hated nothing but sin. They took seriously the admonitions of the psalmist, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10), and of the prophet Amos who urged his hearers to “hate evil, love good” (Amos 5:15).
Dear Father, help us to handle hatred
with utmost care. Help us to direct our hatred
only at the things You despise. Teach us
what it means to hate the sin and love the sinner. Amen.
If you can't hate what is evil, you can't love what is good.