My wife and I been enjoying reading from Joe Thorn’s little book, Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. The chapters are less than two pages long because they are literally notes you are meant to preach to yourself. One of the chapters we read last night is titled, “Hate Well”. It certainly grabs your attention because, if you’re childhood was anything like mine, “hate” was considered a four-letter word. With a sternly furrowed brow I’d hear, “We do not hate!” So, do tell, Mr. Thorn, how are we to “hate well”?
His point is spot on. He says in the first paragraph, “Authentic love and zeal for God will produce abhorrence for all that stands opposed to him and his purposes.” Do we hate sin, both in others and in ourselves? This is important because we are told in Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil.”
You may say, “Of course, I hate evil”, but here’s where Thorn got me: “Do you really hate [your own sin] for what it is, or do you simply dislike its unpleasant consequences?” Yikes! I had to admit that often it is the feeling of guilt that I hate and not the sin itself. Thorn goes on to explain that to hate sin simply because of its negative consequences is to hate it out of self-love instead of love for God.
If we are going to hate sin for what it is, then we need to think more deeply about the holiness and supremacy of our great God, because the reason sin is so wretched is because God is so awesome. Sin is a direct offense to the God who made us and saved us by the blood of his Son, so if we are not hating sin, how can we be loving God?
Church, let us look to the cross of Christ so that we may “hate well”. It is there that we will see the horrific nature of our sin in the face of the bleeding Savior, and hear the brutality of our crimes as he cries, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).