Pretty much anyone who knows anything about Christianity is able to quote that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:16), so it’s been commonplace for Christians to avoid saying that God, and Christians, hate anything; how can a Person whose very character is love hate at all?
Well, the Bible unashamedly claims that God ad0pts Christians into his family, so the love of a father to his child is going to be the most easily-applicable analogy out there. Now let’s say that there’s some dangerous dog whose owner is specifically training it to kill this child. Is it right for the father to hate the dog? Or the owner? Or the consequences? How otherwise can God rightly say ‘Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them.’ (Hosea 9:15)?
Maybe the analogy isn’t quite perfect (we’re talking about an infinite God beyond our comprehension so I wouldn’t expect it to be!) but maybe Christians should speak out more strongly and more specifically about what God hates? That’s not going to be very popular I know, Christians already get bad enough press for being judgmental, homophobic and prudes but when managed biblically isn’t this exactly what the Old Testament prophets were accused of?
This needs wisdom – I think that ‘Jesus loves pornstars‘ is more biblically accurate than ‘God hates fags’ (I’m not going to link to them) – but it seems to me that the church in the UK falls into one of two camps. One side, in the name of love, simply ignores sin in reaction to societal pressures. The other side has a clear idea of what’s sin and what isn’t, and legalistically pursues righteousness resulting in ‘whitewashed tombs’.
Is there a third way, one which highlights God’s righteous hatred toward sin and therefore shows his love when we realise that his love overcomes that hate? I think that’s a far more powerful message than the command that today’s church has a tendency of giving to God: ‘take me as you find me’.