Hating Evil
Thursday, September 2, 2010

“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. . .”  Romans 12:9


                For all my readers, I have been on vacation, visiting my children and grandchildren in Wyoming.  It was a wonderful time (even though I have had a couple of scoldings for not writing) and now I am back at it.  But let me tell you of a message I have had on my heart for a few days.  It is contained in the passage above.  It wasn’t until I arrived home and started rummaging through my mail, that I realized the message was truly from the Holy Spirit.  A dear friend, whom I have only met physically once, but have cherished as a friend ever since we met, sent me this simple passage in the mail – with little explanation.  I simply knew that God was calling me to write what is on my heart tonight.


                I have become increasingly perplexed by my own anger and the anger of those around me – anger towards politicians; anger towards other races; anger between children and parents; anger between friends; and anger towards people who believe differently than we do.  There just seems to be a lot of anger.  Some is targeted toward the government.  Some is focused on people.  And some is even focused on sin and evil.  And I think it is because we sometimes cannot distinguished between the above, we just all fester in anger and vent it at the easiest and most vulnerable targets.  But today, I want to look at anger or hatred toward evil and sin, because I believe if we could get this right, our other angers could get more righteously focused.      


                There exists hatred of sin and evil on at least three levels.  The first level is that we should hate it because evil and sin destroys us as individuals.  I remember a story I have told so often in sermons and studies, but a simple retelling the other day made it all the more compelling to me.  A young girl was walking through the woods on a cold evening when she encountered a snake.  The snake was immobile because of the cold.  She was startled and started to run, but the snake called out to her, “Help!  Please pick me up and make me warm so I can live.”  But the girl said, “No, if I make you warm you will strike me and I will die.”  “No,” said the snake, “I will be so grateful that I will only give thanks to you.”  She didn’t trust the snake, so she sat on a nearby log and began to stare at it.  As she looked she began to remember the Discovery Channel and how they teach how beautiful the snakes really are; how she should respect them and share the planet with them.  And the more she stared, the more beautiful it became.  So she picked up the snake and began to warm it next to her body.  But as the snake’s blood began to warm, it began to move ever so slightly towards her neck.  And then it struck.  The girl cried out, “you struck me, I am going to die.”  And the snake responded.  “Why are you surprised? I am a snake; that is what I do.   You knew that when you picked me up.”  The point is evil or sin will kill us.  And no matter how beautiful we make it seem, it will still kill us.  And if we don’t hate it, we will likely pick it up and die.


                But there is another reason we should hate evil and sin.  We should hate evil and sin because it destroys those we love and the culture in which we live.  If you don’t believe that, just look at what liberals called sin just a few decades ago.  Now if a conservative Christian were to call the same things sin, they would be branded as bigots, racists, homophobes, and now Islamaphobes.  What used to be liberal is now considered far right wing.  And what is liberal today does not even reflect a smattering of goodness that comes from hating evil.  I heard recently that 60% of Christian 4th and 5th graders watch “R” rated movies regularly.  And since 4th and 5th graders cannot drive to the movies or the movie store, we have to assume they are watching these movies with the consent of their parents.  We have become so accustomed to the darkness, that the darkness becomes as light.  Like walking in to a dimly lit restaurant, our eyes (moral compasses) have adjusted and now we can see in the darkness.  God’s enemy is killing us, and we don’t even hate him.


                True, most Christians hate at the first level.  But sadly it really ends there or we would not be facing the issues we face today.  A few still hate at the second level, but do so at the risk of being social outcasts.  However there is a third level of hatred of evil and sin that has escaped the modern Christian and thus the Church is sick and dying in the Western world.  I am referring to hating sin and evil because of the holiness of God.  Seldom do we indulge in such thoughts of God’s holiness.  Seldom do we think about the hatred of God toward sin that was so profound that He crucified His Son upon the cross.  Seldom do we worry about whether God’s character is being infringed upon by the evil that exists in our homes, in our lives, on our computers, and in our hearts.  But make no mistake about it, the holiness of God is grieved because we do not hate sin and evil at that level – worse yet, we don’t even bother to think about sin at that level.  At the most mundane level, think about a father or mother who would take 40 lashes for the sins of a child and the child never gives that a thought.  He simply goes out and does the evil deed again and becomes angry at the father or mother for voicing an opinion.  Now multiply that profoundly sad feeling of the mother or father times infinity and you will get some idea of how God feels when we boldly and confrontationally sin in His presence (and according to Paul in Romans 1, we approve of others who do evil as well [Rm. 1:32]).

                 Sin and evil is destroying our lives; it is destroying our culture; and it is ripping apart the heart of God.  How can we keep on embracing that which kills?  Thanks Danny.


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