Hating Evil (John Hansen)
Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 97:10 NIV
There are plenty of evil things in this world to hate. So many things that leave us feeling disturbed and disgusted and angry.
It’s easy to feel hatred for evil that is in the world and then naturally the people who perpetrate those evils… “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is what we’ve been told over the years, right? It’s an attempt to address how quick we are to feel anger and hatred toward the people who do evil.
But how often to do we read this verse and allow it to turn our hate for evil inwards. With all the atrocities that exist in the world today, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the one particular set of evils that we have the most power to address and conquer—and that’s the evil that WE carry out.
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil (IN THEIR OWN LIVES)”.
If we really let this sink in and become a sort of anthem, how much more open and receptive would we be to the Holy Spirit as we join him on a mission to identify and address any evil actions, behaviors or attitudes that we carry around every day.
“…for he guards the lives of his FAITHFUL ones…”
Maybe our faithfulness is more profoundly measured by how committed we are to hate the evil in our own lives. Are we supposed to hate the external evil that we observe in the world? Of course. And we should do whatever is in our power to address that as well and be a part of bringing change and justice. But if we are doing all that and failing to place more emphasis on the evil in our own life—even if it does seem insignificant and justified to us—aren’t we just hypocrites?
Think about it. The most horrific evils we’ve learned about in history and today find it’s origin in the form of things like pride, jealousy, greed, lust. These are internal things that we all deal with. Things that remain internal and seemingly innocent until they graduate into an external action that causes observable suffering in others.
It seems a strong argument to say that most of the world’s evil that we so easily hate could have been prevented if the perpetrators had simply committed themselves to hate the evil in their own hearts enough to let God deal with it. Maybe the scripture is trying to tell us that only THEN is when God,
“…delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”
From their own hand perhaps.
Food for thought.