It’s fair time and school starts back soon. Many students will likely come home after that first school day saying they hate it and hatred isn’t new, having existed even among brothers since shortly after creation (Ecclesiastes 1: 9, 10; Genesis 4: 1-8). Hatred generally is viewed as bad, but there’s actually a time to hate (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8). So, when is it ever appropriate to hate (besides having to go to school)?
To understand an appropriate hate, we must define it. A paraphrased partial definition from The Merriam-Webster Dictionary includes: Intense aversion [a feeling of repugnance toward something with the desire to avoid it (school?)]; enmity (mutual hostility); to abominate (literally to avert by prayer – yes, prayer can help with school such that there are no atheists on test day).
Since there is a time to hate, according to God, we should hate what he hates. Although not an exhaustive list, Proverbs 6: 16-19 gives six things God hates, repeating one of them to make a total of seven (God hates lies and the false witness, which are the same).
These objects of Godly hatred are actions that negatively impact others. They’re abominable to God and it’s in our own best interest to avoid people that practice them (1 Corinthians 15: 33). It’s fair to say that those who treat others shabbily don’t want to be treated that way themselves (Matthew 7: 12; 22: 36-40).
Avoiding them while praying for them (Matthew 5: 43-48) may help them recognize the repulsiveness of their actions and may also protect us. You see, in the same way that we avoid those who treat us shabbily, our sins separate us from God, although he’s always ready to forgive (Isaiah 59: 1, 2; Acts 2: 38, 39; 41-47; 1 John 1: 1 – 2: 2).
Romans 12: 9 is a more encompassing list of what God hates (1 Thessalonians 5: 22). We’ve got to study the rest of the Bible to learn how God defines good and evil (Hebrews 5: 11-14; Ephesians 5: 8-17).
Bible study really isn’t that bad, but some perceive the delving into the unknown as a challenge rather than as an opportunity or adventure, which also might be the very reason many students don’t like school.
In all fairness, school isn’t so bad. Most of us would probably have to admit that we’re glad we went. Gladness also comes when we practice our aversion for sin and appropriately love our neighbor as we are to love ourselves in a way that leads them out of sin. It may be a tough task, but we’ll be glad to have the job done and we’ll also be glad we did it.
I pray that we’ll have such an aversion for sin that we’ll work to get it out of our own lives first (Mathew 7: 1-6; 26: 41; Jude 1: 20-25). It’s a fair time to start working on that.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at: email@example.com