- Firstly, hatred of others is incompatible with the Christian life, because it is a rejection of the fundamental doctrine of God’s Word that mankind is made in the image of God. As human beings we are created equally to reflect the glory and carry the beauty of God. Genesis makes it clear that the only distinction between people is male and female and both are in the image of God (Gen 5:1-2). This means that to hate others is to, by extension, disdain the God whose image they were created in and dishonor the creator by dishonoring the creation. It also means placing a distinction on certain people that their creator doesn’t.
- Secondly, hatred of others is incompatible with the Christian life, because it is a rejection of our identity as Christians. In Galatians the Apostle Paul writes to the church and tells them that race, gender, nationality, and occupation are all unimportant compared to our identity as followers of Christ (Gal 3:28). Jesus is the most important part of who we are. If we hold to any identity more than we hold to Christ, we have made Christ second to the insignificant.
- Thirdly, hatred of others is incompatible with the Christian life, because you cannot worship Christ while hating others. Jesus said that the most important passions of the Christian life are to love God and love others (Mat 22:36-40). Love according to the biblical definition is to sacrifice and put others first and this idea is in full displayed in the cross. We cannot do this for God because we have nothing to give God that is not already His. This is why loving others is so important to the Christian life. Loving others is the way in which we love God. Jesus says that the love that we render to the people around us is worship to God (Mat 25:40). To hate, or even to refuse to love others, is a violation of God’s command to love people, which is given without qualification.
- Fourthly, hatred of others is incompatible with the Christian life because it causes us to make distinctions among people that the God who created them does not. According to the gospel, there are only two types of people. There are sinners that need grace and sinners that are saved by grace. I have always called the gospel “the great equalizer” because we all stand before God on the same basis of the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ is the only distinction that God makes on man. To say otherwise is to cheapen that blood. It is a misunderstanding of the problem of sin, and it is an insult to the power of Christ’s sacrifice which covers that sin.
I could go on, but the point is that these things are dramatically against a Biblical worldview. What is to be done then? Speak out in word and deed. The reason it is important to speak about these things is because many Christians have been vocal about other sins in the culture and often ignore problems of prejudice in their culture. We can be passionate about things like abortion or sexual sin, but we will be silent on racially motivated sin. We tend to make it political or ideological rather than calling out racism as what it is, a gross wrong. We as a church need to recognize and confront sin, and respond to it with biblical truth. This is true broadly in our culture, but it is also true with individuals we may know or work with. This is what spurred many Christians in the past to speak up and confront hatred and prejudices, and God used them to change many hearts in our nation. We must continue to do this. If the church fails to stand on truth then it fails to be the salt in the earth for which it was meant. We must also continue to preach the gospel in word and deed. The only true power to release someone’s heart from the grasp of sinful bitterness is the power of the gospel. We can speak up and confront sin, we can, and should, speak truth, but God is the one that changes hearts through the gospel. The events of late should only impassion and encourage us to be bolder in confronting the hopeless hatred that exists in the world with the hopeful grace of the gospel. We should counter prejudice with truth in our conversations, our company, and perhaps even our own hearts. We do not stand on our word or opinion; we stand on God’s Word. God’s Word is undeniably clear here. We also need to pray. Please pray for hearts to change. God has the ability to change hearts even though we cannot.
Share God’s gospel love when you have opportunity. Take and confront sin seriously and boldly. Pray for your neighbors, and always consider your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. These ugly things will appear in the world, but take heart, for Christ has overcome the world. May God grant you the grace to follow him.
If you have questions that regard this or anything else, please fill out a form for our Q & A service. I will address them when I return.
In the service of Christ,