Who should Christians hate vs who do Christians hate?

Who should Christians hate? Who do Christians hate? Wouldn’t it be nice if the answer to both questions was no one? Obviously, unless you’re living under a rock, they aren’t. But then, you know that, because if you were living under a rock you probably don’t have good internet service and aren’t reading this.

The image is interesting.

An angel and a devil. Both are smiling. Apparently, the angel is happy not hating. And the devil is equally happy hating.

That reflects the ideal. In other words, what God intended. And what God will reinstate.

But it’s raining on both of them.

That reflects the sad reality here on earth. Things aren’t as they should be.

The angels don’t always love and do sometimes hate.

The devils are sometimes seen as being loving, and not always hating.

And so, each of us, Christian or not, has some angel characteristics in us. And some devil in us.

Not that we are, literally, angels or devils. We are people. But we’re influenced by good and evil.

And so the questions arise. Who should Christians hate? And in reality of this fallen world, who do Christians hate?

Who should Christians hate?

Who should Christians hate? That should be obvious, at least to Christians. But sometimes I wonder. Is it really that obvious, even to us? Maybe that depends on where we learn what we should be like?

Hopefully obvious, although sadly also maybe not at all obvious, is that we should learn how to behave from the namesake of our religion, Jesus Christ.

So, what’s the clearest statement Jesus made to us about who we should hate?

This is probably where you expect to see something about love your enemies. But I’m not going to go there. Yet. After all, we’re talking about Christians here. At least, people who claim to be Christians. Because of that, there are things Jesus said that are meant specifically for us, as Christians. Things that have no need for any kind of comparison, such as the one between friends and enemies.

For God so loved the world

John 3:16 is probably the best known verse in the Bible. Even non-Christians know of it.

John 3:16

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

So there are verses 16 and 17, because verse 17 tells us something related to the next passage we’re going to look at.

God loves everyone so much that Jesus came to suffer and die on the cross to pay for our sins and to give us eternal life with God. That is, if we accept the offer.

I wonder, do we realize the implications of that simple reality for us?

Let’s add another passage to make it more clear.

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Yes, we are supposed to go out to all nations to spread the Gospel. By all nations, Jesus meant everyone. All people. But just the people we like. Not even just the large group of people we don’t hate. Everyone. I mean, Jesus died for everyone, so who are we to decide we’re only going to go to the people we like?

Now, I know it says to baptize people and teach them. However, taking any one passage, and especially one verse, out of the larger context of everything Jesus said can lead to huge problems.

There’s nothing in here that says we’re supposed to force the Gospel on anyone. I know it’s happened in the past. but it’s not what Jesus told us to do. As I said, there can be huge problems from ignoring the larger context of everything Jesus said.

To that end, let’s see what Jesus did say about people who don’t want to hear the Gospel. Normally I use Matthew’s Gospel about Jesus sending out the twelve disciples. But today, let’s take a look at Mark. It makes the necessary point with much fewer words.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve – Mark

6:7-11 pp — Mt 10:19-14Lk 9:13-5

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
Mk 6:8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
Mk 6:12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

Notice, if they don’t want to listen, we’re supposed to shake the dust off your [our] feet when you [we] leave. we’re not supposed to force them. Nor are we supposed to hate them.

Where does it say we’re not supposed to hate them for not listening? Hint. Actually, answer: it doesn’t!

What if Christians hate someone who refuses to follow Jesus?

If we choose to hate someone who doesn’t even listen, let alone accept and follow Jesus, there are consequences.

First, we’ve violated the commands, from Jesus, that we promised to follow when we chose to follow Jesus.

Second, when we beat people over the head with our Bibles, hopefully that’s figuratively speaking, they come to hate us. Hate Christianity. Tell me, when that happens, how on earth is anyone ever going to be able to begin to talk to them about their salvation?

One problem with making non-Christians hate us is that we are very possibly dooming them to eternity in Hell. Sure, they probably don’t accept that reality now. And maybe they never will, even if we love them.

But in John 3:16, that famous verse, God makes it very clear that His offer is open to all. And the context of everything Jesus says makes it clear that it’s up to each of us to choose to accept the offer or not. That’s the remainder of the John 3:16 passage, for one example.

John 3:16

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Who are we to put ourselves in the position of making people hate Christianity? Hate Jesus? And all because we chose to hate them when we were supposed to love them?

Maybe we think they’ve done something awful to us. But hey – the people killed Jesus, and before He died, do you remember what Jesus said? Check out that answer, plus a few other things below.

The Crucifixion – Luke

23:33-43 pp — Mt 27:33-44Mk 15:22-32Jn 19:17-24

Lk 23:26 As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then
“ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Lk 23:32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Lk 23:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

Lk 23:36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Lk 23:38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”

Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Yeah – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”.

I think that if Jesus forgives the people who killed Him then He expects us to forgive people who refuse to listen to Him. I mean, it’s not like they’re rejecting us. We know this because Jesus told us.

Maybe you remember this, from the end of The Beatitudes:

The Beatitudes – Matthew

Mt 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus said we should rejoice and be glad when people insult us and persecute us and say all kinds of evil against us.

However – what is unsaid, but certainly meant, is that we should rejoice and be glad when these things happen because we’re doing the things Jesus told us to do, but also when we do them the way He told us to do them.

When we approach people with hatred, that’s not what Jesus told us to do. When we hate people because they didn’t listen to our message, that’s not what Jesus told us to do either. The bottom line is that when people hate us because we hated them first, that’s wrong!

We have a message to deliver, and a way in which to deliver that message. I wonder, how often can we do it wrong, turn people away from Jestus as a result, and hate people we’re supposed to love – how long will that go on before Jesus tells us, “I never knew you”?

So – Who should Christians hate?

Have you figured it out yet? Christians shouldn’t hate anyone.

Only God knows who’s going to be saved in the end. We do not. I’d rather be the person helping someone get to know God, than to be the one turning them off to God. If we do hear “I never knew you“, we’ll also have to account for why we disobeyed Jesus’ basic commands and did turn people away from Him instead of toward Him. I don’t want to have to do that either.

Who do Christians hate?

We aren’t perfect. We’re going to hate someone. But then, when prompted by the Holy Spirit, we should also recognize that, and beg forgiveness from God. Of course, there are two assumptions in there. First, that we listen for the Holy Spirit. And second that we respond appropriately when we finally do hear.

Love your enemies

Earlier, I said I’d get to things like Love your enemies.

I really shouldn’t need to go into these all that much. So I’m just going to put the passages here and leave it for you to pray to God to let you know where/when you’re going wrong. It’s not easy to hear. Been there. Done that.

But it is something we really mutst do if we love Jesus. Why”. It’s not because our actions will make Jesus love us more. It’s because our love for Jesus will drive us to be transformed to live more like Him.

An absence of that kind of action indicates an issue with the love we claim to have. So if you really do want to love Jesus, to spend eternity with Him, that transformation is important. What. we do here in this life does indicate whether we truly want to spend eternity with Jesus in the next.

If we can’t bring ourselves to even try to be more like Jesus, what does that say about our true desire to be like Him?

If we can’t get past our need to hate in this life, how can we think we’d be happy in Heaven?

Ultimately, if we can’t do these things, it seems we’ve chosen our eternal destination. And it’s not looking too good for our desire to be with a Holy God in the next life.

Think about that.
Pray about that.

So with that, let’s close with the passages from Luke and Matthew on love for enemies. And as you read them, remember, this is for the people. we hate the most. If Jesus wants us to do these things for the people we hate the most, what does that mean for the people we only hate a little? And for the people we claim to love?

No one said this, being Christian, was easy. But it’s worth it if we try. And God will help us when we honestly try.

Love for Enemies – Luke

6:29, 30 pp — Mt 5:39-42

Lk 6:27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Lk 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Love for Enemies – Matthew

Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Who should Christians hate vs who do Christians hate?

I hope I made it clear enough. And I pray you’ll take this to heart and ask God for help. We all need it. Me included.

Who should Christians hate vs who do Christians hate? No one.

who do Christians hate? Hopefully, fewer people tomorrow than we do today. And with help from God, that hate won’t turn into antipathy, but to love.

After all this, if you’re not Christian, thank you for reading all this way. The message for you is that yes, God does love you. Even though we all are a work in progress and have to continually improve, God’s desire is for all to love Him as He loves us. And to transform ourselves more and more to be like Jesus.

After all, that’s what eternity with Jesus is going to be like. If we don’t want to be like Jesus, we have that right. But then, as odd as it may seem, out of love, God will let us spend eternity in the place where our hearts are. Not out words. But our hearts. Do we want to be like Jesus, living as He did, taught, and gave us His example? Or not.

It really is up to us to decide. It’s just not up to us to make the rules. And that’s for Christians and non-Christians alike.

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