My resolution for the new year to become a better hater. But I suppose this requires at least some explanation before itemizing the ways I propose for improving on our hatreds.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Prov. 8:13).
The fear of the Lord is to hate what is evil. We should be able to immediately see that there is no virtue or vice to be found in a transitive verb. By themselves as verbs, love is not good and hatred is not bad. Everything rides on the direct object. If you love your mom, that is great, but if you love child porn — same verb and everything — you are being wicked. In order to honor God, the right verb has to be lined up with the right direct object. Genuine love lines up with certain things, and so does true-hearted hate.
In the passage quoted, the direct object for hate must be evil, pride, arrogance, an evil way, and perverted speech. If you look around at the landscape that lies before us in this freshly minted 2014, there are many objects that rightly qualify as direct objects of our hatred — if we are to be disciples of Jesus in 2014. We live in what military men call a target-rich environment.
So here is how I propose growing in our ability to hate properly. These are the areas I think we should all focus on.
1. Learn to love properly. We should want to give ourselves to the love of God and the love of our neighbor. We should want to rejoice in the Lord, in the public worship of God, in the ordinances He has given to us, and in hunger for His Word. We should be eager for evangelism and mercy work. We must love our husbands, wives, children and grandchildren. The more we are given over to these things, the more difficult it will be for the bad guys to level the charge that our hatreds are somehow “phobias,” or some other sign of a broken mind. We don’t hate because we love hating. We hate because we love what we are defending.
2. Learn to hate hypocrisy. When we hate the sins of others more than we hate sin in ourselves, we are a couple of miles down that deadly road already. When we judge others by their actions and words, and judge ourselves by our motives, we are already in the grip of this evil thing. When we judge others by a different standard than the one we desire to have applied to ourselves, we are living in high disregard of the Lord’s teaching. Judgment begins with the household of God, and this is why there will never be a restoration of the republic without a reformation in the church.
3. Learn to hate jargon, buzzwords, cant, and Kant. Words detached from the objects they are supposed to represent — which is what happens with a denial of the correspondence view of truth — is the first step in getting our duties with regard to true hatred completely muddled. So learn to love objective truth, and hate all subjectivism. Learn to mean what you say, and say what you mean. Target every form of verbal pretension and postmodern word games. What is needed here is precision. So put a scope on your rifle. Sight it in. Go out for target practice in an abandoned garden patch. Get a bead on the pumpkins of postmodernism. Use hollow points. The results will be gratifying.
4. Learn to hate every form of egalitarianism, feminism, metrosexuality and associated swisheries, pomosexuality, and androgyny. In the image of God He created them, male and female (Gen. 1:27). And every true Christian has since that time said, vive la différence. On a practical level, the single biggest theological issue of our generation is what God allows as a turn on, how we get to the point of orgasm, and whether or not that experience is a gift that must function under authority. You cannot be wrong on this without being wrong everywhere else.
5. Learn to hate every attempt to turn the Scriptures against itself. No verse trumps any other verse. No word from God is at war with any other word from God. The very first thing that “red letter Christians” do in their insistence to go “by the words of Jesus only” is reject the words of Jesus about the rest of Scripture. All you need to grow in this hatred rightly is a special edition of the Bible, which you can get at any Christian bookstore, with the words of the Holy Spirit in black. Tota et sola Scriptura. All of Scripture and only Scripture — that is the ultimate and infallible rule of faith and practice. Those who seek to divvy up the Word are hostile to the Word, and so we must return that hostility with warmth.
6. Learn to hate every form of coercion that is not mandated by the Almighty God Himself. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Love liberty, and love it in every lawful form. Hate every suggestion that would — apart from an explicit requirement from the Creator — bind, restrict, limit, constrain, constrict, curb, inhibit, stifle, bridle, disallow, immure, compel, or deprive the lawful liberty of another. This is not done for the sake of an abstract idol called “individualism.” It is nothing more complicated than love of neighbor. In this, our statist and despotic age, it is not possible to love your neighbor without also hating five-year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains. And hatred of coercion also includes every form of unjust warfare — hatred of ungodly compulsion is not limited in any way to domestic politics.
7. Learn to hate the suggestion, made by some ostensibly on our side, that we “take no prisoners.” The strategy outlined by the Lord Jesus, and which is obligatory for us as Christians, is that we disciple the nations, baptizing them and teaching them obedience. This means that we first find them undiscipled, unbaptized, and disobedient. The whole point is to persuade them, not to nuke them. As we undertake the endeavor of hating well, in our midst we will soon enough discover more than a few who do not know what spirit they are of (Luke 9:55).
The Lord Jesus famously admonished the church at Ephesus, telling them they had fallen from their first love. We must never let that happen to us. But we too often forget that when He came to praise them in what they had retained, He commended them for their hatred. “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Rev. 2:6).
So the new year is now before us. We must learn to become better haters in it. It is long past time for new year’s resolutions to contain hatred for something other than calories.