One of the most disturbing sights I ever saw was on the cover of a newspaper a few years ago. An article on the front page described a group of so-called “Christians” from Kansas who were picketing funerals for American soldiers. Accompanying the article was a picture of the group just outside a graveyard during a soldier’s funeral. Several of the group members were holding large colorful signs that said “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “God hates America”. Among the group’s ranks was a child, also holding up such a sign.
As discouraging as this was to me, I later looked up the group’s website on the Internet. Their homepage was full of disheartening messages (I was first greeted with a banner that proclaimed “Welcome, depraved sons and daughters of Adam”). More discouraging pictures of picketers on the site read “God hates the USA”, “You’re going to Hell”, “God is America’s Terror” and “God hates Homosexuals”. A set of links demonstrated that God’s hate is not just reserved for the US and homosexuals, but apparently God also hates Mexico, Ireland, and Sweden.
Now that I have sufficiently depressed and/or angered everyone, I will get to the point of the lesson…
Does God really hate anyone?
After reading the newspaper article and website, I began thinking about the relationship between God and hate. Being raised in the church and a student of the Bible myself, it’s hard for me to believe that God could actually hate anyone. So I began this study by looking up the word “hate” in my concordance. I started my search with these verses.
Deuteronomy 12:31 - “You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.”
In Deuteronomy 12:31 I found my first instance of “the Lord” and “hate” being used in the same verse. There is no mention here of God hating anyone. However, this verse does state that God hated the detestable things that idol worshipers were doing in the worship of their gods. We cannot generalize with this verse and simply say that God hated these people. The verse clearly states that He hated what they were doing.
Likewise, Psalms 6:12-19 describes “six things that God hates”. All of the things listed in these verses are evil, sinful things, but nowhere does it say that God hates the person that practices them.
God hates sin, not sinners
Righteous people in the Bible, who were chosen by God to spread His Word, were always promoting love and condemning hate.
Jesus, the Son of God Himself, preached against hating anyone in Matthew 5:43-44. According to Jesus, we shouldn’t even hate people that sin against us! Throughout the Bible we find instances in which God is sinned against, don’t we find that God still loves and blesses those that sin against Him? Look at the children of Israel! They constantly turned their back on God and He continued to look after and care for them. God didn’t hate the children of Israel.
Jesus’ disciples also preached against hate. 1 John 4:20 – You can’t say you love God while hating your brother.
Galatians 5:19-20 - Hatred is listed as one of the works of the flesh
Throughout the Bible we are told that God is a righteous being. How could a righteous being hold us to a standard of righteousness that He doesn't follow Himself? - 1 John 3:10
God is Love
Proverbs 10:12 says that “Hatred stirs up strife, but Love covers all sins”. If this proverb is true, then surely God is love! Does God not offer to cover all of our sins through the acceptance of His Son as our Savior? God is not a god of chaos; God put an order to everything from the beginning of time. God does not stir up strife!
1 John 4:8 states it very simply: God is love.
The conclusion of the matter is this: God doesn’t hate anyone. As human beings, we are sinful by nature, but God doesn’t hate us for that. God doesn’t hate sinners. God hates sin. Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 64:6
1 Timothy 2:3-4 states that God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. If God wanted everyone to be saved and to serve Him, how could He possibly hate anyone?
John 3:16 - God so loved the world...
Romans 5:8 - God demonstrates His love for us...
1 John 4:8-19 - God showed His love for us through the sacrifice of His Son.