Originally published Wednesday, 07 October 2015.
In our house, I discourage my children from using the word "hate." I don’t want to hear “I hate green beans” or “I hate emptying the dishwasher” or “I hate Spelling.” I tell them that it is a serious and heavy word and they need to reserve it for referring to things like sin and evil.
Today, I feel compelled to talk about what I hate.
I hate the Fall of Man.
I hate watching my once strong, sure, and active grandfather slowly deteriorate from cancer, have a massive stroke, and then pass away.
I hate seeing dear friends divorce.
I hate the brokenness friends endure from past abuse. I hate the memories that haunt them. I hate how it has marked and changed their life.
I hate how I constantly fall back into old sinful habits of relating, of thinking, of speaking.
I hate how the Body is often fractured, bruised, and stunted by miscommunication, false teachers, bad theology, the desire to look more like the world, and by those whose palate has never moved beyond the taste of milk.
I hate how suffering enters our lives and hits us completely by surprise, like our friend's whose son was poisoned and now has brain damage.
I hate how precious lives are taken from the womb before they can draw their first breath.
I hate how my heart forgets God’s grace and is so easily prone to self-righteousness, self-reliance, and self-exaltation.
I hate how we all fail to honor God and give him the glory he is due.
The only thing that comforts me in the midst of this dark and fallen world is the fact that God hates sin and evil even more than I (see Isaiah 61:8, Psalm 5:4, Proverbs 6, Zechariah 8:17). That's because sin and evil is an affront to our perfect, holy, and righteous God. In fact, he had every reason to put an end to the entire human race. But instead, he entered the misery of this world, took on frail human flesh, and lived among us. He faced the horrors, sorrows, and temptations of this world yet never sinned once. He lived the life we could not live. And on the cross, he was made sin so that we could be made righteous. As Tim Keller wrote "God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself." (Reason for God p. 30).
This truth gives me great comfort. It gives me hope when I encounter all the things on my list above. Because I can’t imagine facing a single one of the above circumstances without an understanding of God’s redemptive story. I can’t imagine going through a trial without the knowledge that God is not at work in it. I can’t imagine seeing abuse, disease, and death without the hope that God’s story is not over. I can’t imagine living in this fallen world without the knowledge and presence of God. I can't imagine enduring suffering without the assurance of salvation and the hope of eternity.
Dear friend, we all should hate sin and evil. We should hate the Fall. But even as we hate it, we have hope. God has answered the problem of evil by crushing his own Son. And one day, the Son will return to restore this world and make all things new. On that day, the word "hate" will cease to exist from our vocabulary altogether.