Hate is a strong term when talking about people. It is something that few people admit to doing…especially Christ-followers. I wonder, though, do we hate without even realizing it? I admit there are people I strongly dislike, but do I hate them? Surely not. I love them because we’re told to love everyone. That’s what I was taught anyway.
So what is hatred? A good place to start is the dictionary, I suppose:
v., hat·ed, hat·ing, hates.
- To feel hostility or animosity toward.
- To detest.
- To feel dislike or distaste for: hates washing dishes.
OK, so it means to feel hostility or animosity towards or to detest. Well, what does it really mean to detest someone?
tr.v., -test·ed, -test·ing, -tests.
To dislike intensely; abhor.
Hmm. To dislike intensely. Alright, I’ve felt that before. Guilty? So, it seems that we can sometimes let ourselves off the hook to the commands and warnings in Scripture on technicalities while perhaps being completely guilty in reality.
John says this in 1 John 2: 9-11:
9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
I may talk a lot about walking in the light, but before I get too carried away, I had better check my vision, because my eyesight just might be growing dim.