We might think that love and hate cannot coexist. But hatred of evil is the other side of love. If I love what God loves, then I will hate what God hates. Psalm 97:10 says, “You who love the Lord, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked” (NLT).
And when the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9, “Hate what is wrong” (NLT), the term he used for hate could be translated “be horrified.”
I’m concerned that evil doesn’t horrify us anymore. We see certain things and say, “Well, what can you do?” And we become somewhat tolerant of it.
I think God’s words to His people through the prophet Jeremiah are true of us today: “They don’t even know how to blush!” (Jeremiah 6:15 NLT).
Not only should we hate evil, but we should also go to great lengths to avoid even the very appearance of evil.
If we really love God and love others, then we will hate evil and adhere to what is good. This conveys the idea of holding on willingly. It isn’t reactive but proactive. We choose to do it.
It’s a little like climbing the face of a cliff. You’re holding on; you’re clinging to it. We should cling to what is good in the same way. We hold on to it, but at the same time we hate what is evil.
Thomas Chalmers, a 19th-century Scottish minister, called this “the expulsive power of a new affection.” The idea is that if we love God more than anyone or anything else, that new affection overpowers our former affection for things that were destructive to us.
Let’s stay away from evil influences and embrace what will strengthen us.