• Steve

God's Friendship, God's Anger

I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

(Proverbs 8:12-13)

The Bible talks often of “hating evil,” “God’s wrath” against unrighteousness, and other similar phrases. God is the source of all goodness and so He does not have – and cannot have – any compromise with evil. As a Good Father, God feels about sin the way a human father feels about his son’s heroin addiction: absolute hatred for the thing that is destroying his child.

This does not mean, of course, that God hates the sinner, but rather the sin. It is because he loves the sinner that he is simultaneously so determined to destroy the sin in us. The great English author C. S. Lewis made this observation in his book Mere Christianity:

I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man's actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. ... I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?
But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.

When Jesus came, he was famously known as the “friend of sinners” because he welcomed thieving tax collectors and wayward prostitutes into his life, and then enabled them to stop stealing and sleeping around.

Growing with God involves loving your life as much as He does - and therefore developing a holy intolerance and hatred for the sin that destroys lives. If we submit to Him, God will progressively kill “pride, arrogance, and perverted speech” and a thousand other destructive sins, replacing these things with His goodness and beauty.

Father, thank you for hating evil and for your commitment to destroy it in me. Give me a vision for my life that is free from pride, arrogance, and sinful speech, and by your grace create that life in me. In Christ’s Name, Amen.