Sermons

Summary: You cannot be a good Christian, and a truly loving Christian, if you do not feel hate for that which is the enemy of love.

A truck had run off the road and crashed into a tree forcing the engine

back into the cab. The driver was trapped in the twisted wreckage. The

doors were crushed and bent out of shape, and he had his feet caught between

the clutch and the brake pedal. To make matters worse, a fire started in the

cab. Concerned people on the scene began to panic, for it was obvious that

the driver would burn to death before the fire engine could arrive.

Then a man by the name of Charles Jones appeared, and he took hold of

the doors and began to pull. His muscles so expanded that they literally

tore his shirt sleeves. People could not believe it when the door began to

give way. Jones reached inside and bare-handedly bent the brake and clutch

pedals out of the way, and freed the man's legs. He snuffed out the fire

with his hands, and then crawled inside the cab, and with his back against

the top lifted the roof so other spectators could pull the driver to safety.

We have all heard stories of how mothers have lifted cars, and done

other superhuman things to rescue their children, because they are motivated

by love, but this man was a stranger. There was no relationship to the

driver. If he was a brother, or son, or even a good friend, we could see how

love would motivate one to such a feat of strength. But this was not the

case. What then was the motivation that enabled this stranger to do such a

powerful act of love? It was hate. Charles Jones was later interviewed, and

was asked why and how he was able to accomplish such a Herculean feat. He

simply replied, "I hate fire." He had good reason for his deep hatred, for a

few months earlier he had to stand by and watch helplessly as his little

daughter burned to death. His intense hatred for this enemy gave him

enormous strength to fight it. His hate led him to a great act of love.

On the other hand, love can lead to hate. Most of the stories of hatred

you read about are directly connected with love. Just recently I read of a

man who shot his wife and her two brothers because she was leaving him. The

statistics show that most murders in our country happen in families. People

are most likely to kill those whom they love, or once loved. Love is the

cause of so many acts of hate.

What a paradox, that these two strong and opposite emotions can so often

be linked together. Paul in verse 9 puts them side by side, and urges

Christians to feel them both in the same breath. He says love must be

sincere, and then demands that we hate what is evil. Paul was not the

founder of this paradoxical partnership of love and hate. The unity of these

two emotions runs all through the Bible. I counted 27 verses in the Bible

where love and hate are in the same verse together. We remember the old

song, Love and Marriage that says they go together like a horse and carriage,

but it is equally Biblical to say, love and hate go together. Listen to a

partial reading of how the Bible links these two emotions in partnership.

Psalm 45:7 "You love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your

God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."

Psalm97:10 "Let those who love the Lord hate evil for he guards the lives of

his faithful ones."

Eccles. 3:8 "There is a time to love and a time to hate."

Isa. 61:8 "For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity." The

love-hate partnership begins in the very nature of God. God could not be

sincere in his love if he did not hate that which destroys love. To be God

like and Christlike is to combine in our being, love and hate.

Rev. 2:6 Jesus says, "...You have this in your favor: You hate the practices

of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."

You cannot be a good Christian, and a truly loving Christian, if you do

not feel hate for that which is the enemy of love. There are many more texts

we could read but the point is established: Hatred is a legitimate emotion

in the Christian life. In fact, it is a vital emotion if we are to be

balanced. This is, however, one of those dangerous truths that can lead to

disaster if it is not understood. These paradoxical partners can still be

bitter enemies. There is still the major distinction to be made between the

hatred of evil, which is good, and the evil of hatred, which is bad.

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