Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hate

Baptist pastor Steven Anderson was on all the networks yesterday (and all over the internet), spewing his hatred of Barack Obama and praying and wishing for his death. As an aside, you know the video of the young black man you've seen over and over, carrying an automatic weapon over his shoulder outside an Obama speech? Attends Anderson's church.)

Anyway, Anderson and other like-minded people object to the idea that Christians are not supposed to hate. They point out that Scripture teaches that God hates and that we should hate what and who God hates. Whether they have it right regarding what and who God actually hates is another subject. The point is that they're right: Scripture indicates that God does hate.

Which is exactly as it should be. I trust God to handle hate. I trust that he always gets it right. I trust that since God is love, his hate must be very different from mine. Human hate is devoid of love; God's can't be. So whatever it means that God hates, I am absolutely confident that it doesn't mean what I mean when I hate something or someone. I'm also confident that, whatever it is, God can be trusted with it.

I don't trust human beings with hate any more than I would trust a three-year-old with a chain saw. Surely God knew that when he told us not to do it, when he told us that hatred is at least as bad as murder, when he told us to always, always, always reserve vengeance and judgment for him. I know that I can't be trusted with hate. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but you can't be trusted either. And neither can Steven Anderson.

5 comments:

Janet said...

Oh, how the heart of God must ache... and the good news of Jesus gets lost in the shuffle.

MJO said...

I appreciate your thoughts on "hate."

I don't know (yet) but does that word in the Hebrew scriptures really mean the same thing as commonly understood in English?

Pastor Anderson, not surprisingly, has NOT been to seminary. (heavy sigh)

Trisha Taylor said...

M, I assume that the Hebrew word for hate means exactly what we mean when we use the word. The ancient Hebrews were certainly good at ethnic and religious hatred! I think the only way to re-imagine the meaning of the word is to shift the context; then the word changes meaning because of the character of God, not because of the meaning of the word. My guess . . .

MJO said...

T, your thoughts were indeed confirmed by my New Testement Professor yesterday at lunch: Hate means exactly what we think it means, and "we must live into these difficult passages" as she says. Your insight is all the more helpful, given there's no simple academic escape hatches!

Jim said...

Thanks Trisha. So true, so sad.