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COLUMN: 'Holy anger' is not the same as hatred

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By Phyllis Perkins

What causes hatred?  

Hatred comes from following our own sinful desires (Galatians 5:19-23).

Is hating ever appropriate for God’s people? We see throughout Scripture that numerous situations elicited God’s hatred: idolatry among his people, injustice, oppression of the weak and poor, abuse of the marriage covenant and the dishonoring of his own name.  

Some things should make us angry. And we should have a healthy hate for the many actions and attitudes that damage people. It is important to focus holy hatred on the sins themselves rather than on the people who commit them.

Because the world hated Jesus, we who follow him can expectthat many people will hate us as well. If things are going too well, it may be time to ask if we are following him as we should. We can be grateful when life is going well but not if it means we are following Jesus halfheartedly – or not at all.  

Love can turn into hate when unlovely circumstances build the fires of anger. How often people stand in divorce court with hatred toward one another, even though they were passionately in love at one time. Passion can swing from love to hate in an instant, because it is determined primarily by emotions.

What a shame to build destructive hatred out of passing feelings we’ve allowed to manipulate us. As unlovely situations come up in your life, deal with your passions appropriately rather than allow them to shape your character and actions.