So, for a Christian to hate evil is a pretty standard thing... So why the question mark in the title? Well, it all has to do with the reality of one verse that has struck me hard ever since I read it and God opened my eyes to it. That verse is Psalm 97:10. It's pretty convicting... Here, let me quote it: "Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones..."
Right, I completely understand this is not a shocking verse and what some critics and skeptics would call a pretty common quote from Scripture. But there is a massive reality to this simple verse. Hate evil... for the Christian, this is not just a good idea or something to think about, this is straight up a command! Now it is extremely simple to hate other evil people and to hate evil actions in this world, such as war and murder and adultery, etc. Even the person that has no religious belief can hate evil, this is not a foundation-shaking declaration.
Except when you apply the command to something deeper and more personal. But first of all, look at who God tells to hate evil. Those who love the LORD. Those Christians who absolutely love God with all their mind, soul, strength, and heart. Notice it is also talking about Yahweh. This is Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, the Giver of life, the Provider... Plus, check out what He does for us.... He preserves those who love Him. He preserves His godly ones! This is astounding because all we know in life are people who are flakey and have no power to preserve anyone. But God is able! This is Who we are getting the command to hate evil from...
Now for the heart-wrenching truth... Hate evil. This is not just an evil that is caused by other people or that is in others. This also means to hate your own evil ways! Yes, there are things that we do in life that, in God's eyes, are straight up evil. Even as Chrsitans, we mess up and sin and God sees our sin as completely wicked. Sure, we might not think so much of them, but God has a much greater perspective. Of course, He is love and His grace and mercy extend much further than some allow, but God is also a just Being and One who despises evil. He commands us through the psalmist to despise the things that we do that are completely against Him! Why does the psalmist come to this conclusion? You must read the first 9 verses to understand how he gets here. It is a simple meditation on the greatness of God that pierces the psalmist with this truth. Let's look at the first 9 verses and look at the meditation of the psalmist on our Almighty God!
"The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad. Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about. His lightnings lit up the world; the eart saw and trembled. The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory. Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images, who boast themselves of idols; worship Him, all you gods. Zion heard this and was glad, and the daughters of Judah have rejoiced because of Your judgments, O LORD. For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods."
Awesome! Just such a staggering exclamation point on the greatness of our God! Because of this, because of His righteousness, His reign, justice, His judgments, His works, His true Godness (not just an idol), we are to hate evil. Even the things that we do that are evil. This is sobering. This makes me cringe at the things that I still do that are evil in God's sight. I am supposed to hate my own actions at times when they are wicked!
Lord, help me. I do thank You Father for Your grace and mercy that You extend every day, but please help me to hate the evil that is in my heart when I don't submit to Your will. Forgive me Father and clean me from the inside out. Allow me to practice Micah 6:8, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"