Updated: Jun 17, 2020
I've often heard people describe the relationship of love and hate as being inextricable opposites. If given a closer examination, love and hate are equally passionate expressions of life. In order to truly love something or someone, the same passion that drives you to love it in first place must drive you to hate what threatens it. If I love truth, I must hate the lies and hypocrisy that attempt to dismantle its foundation. If I love humility, I must hate the evil of pride that seeks to diminish its purpose. If I love intimacy, I must hate the sin of selfishness and instant gratification that soils its treasure.
A verse that always seems to strike a cord in my heart is Psalm 97:10 - "You who love the Lord - hate evil!" If we love God with the intensity that our songs of worship suggest, than we will hate whatever attempts to undermine our relationship with Him and His ways. We will hate religious posturing that only gives us an appearance of godliness. We will hate the murder of innocent life, because it is the same as going into the house of an experienced artisan and trashing his masterpieces into nothing. If we love the Lord with authenticity, we will hate the things that cause His heart grief.
I will give an example of this reasoning from my own marriage. I know without a shadow of doubt that my wife loves me. Every chance she gets, my wife expresses her love through affirming words and warm affections. One of our favorite things to do is cuddle on the couch and watch movies together. I am blessed to have a woman who is head over heels in love with me. This love also comes with some challenges though.
Her love for me requires her to hate anything that tries to threaten my quality as her husband. She hates when I am cold and distant. She hates when I am feeling lazy and waste my time. She hates when I say inappropriate jokes and she really hates when I tease her. She does not hate these things in me because she thinks I am a bad person or even that she is nagging - even though sometimes i accuse her of that . . . The real reason she hates these things is because they threaten my quality of life and my quality as her mate. She equally hates the things inside of her that threaten her quality as a wife, a mother, a friend, or a worker. She loves me so much that her standard remains high - both for herself and for me. At the end of the day, she inspires me to be a better man because of this love.
Love and hate cannot be separated from each other. There are things we must hate if there are things we truly love, and if you are one of those people who love all things and hate nothing, than your love is weak and not real. To embrace all things as acceptable and of equal worth is considered indifference, not love. Love requires that you care, even caring too much.
This Christmas, love fiercely and hate fiercely. Love Jesus with everything you have and hate anything that gets in the way.
If your family celebrations center around the birth of Christ because you love Him, why not consider giving Him more than mere tradition and symbolism? No matter how thoughtful and sweet reading the first two chapters of Luke may be, it means very little to Jesus if the story does not create a yearning in your heart for more of Him. Give Him the gift of authentic love by putting to death the things inside you that threaten your intimacy with Him. Give Him the gift of living a righteous life and stop giving your affections to the things He hates.
To embrace the message of Christmas is to embrace the message of righteousness. And to embrace the message of righteousness is to embrace the reality that we are beings who must exercise both love and hate if we are to be real.