Is love ever wrong and hate ever right? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We live in a society that loves to talk about love. We also see one that hates any mention of hate. Unfortunately, we do not really think about those terms. What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to hate someone? We live in a world where it is assumed that if something is love, then that is something that is good, and if something is hate, then that is something that is bad. You can hear slogans like “Love is never wrong.” You can also see groups such as the anti-bullying group “We Stop Hate.” Is there a problem with this language?
Why yes there is because in fact some things you should not love and some things you should hate. Things you should hate you should hate proportionally and the same with things you should love. Let’s look at hate for instance. The group “We Stop Hate” is out there wanting to stop bullying. Question. Do they love bullying? Of course not. What would they think of someone who loved bullying? That person has a problem. In fact, it could be that “We Stop Hate” actually hates bullying. That’s why they want to stop it.
What about love? We’re often told love is never wrong. Well actually, it is. In fact, loving good things can be wrong if you don’t love them properly. Food is meant to be a good thing God created and we should delight in it, but what happens if you love food too much? Well that’s one way that gluttony exists. Married men, like myself, tend to love sex, but what happens if you love sex more than you love your wife who you have sex with? Well if that’s the case then you’re actually using her. I love games and some other guys love sports. What happens if you love those more than your responsibility to your wife and as a Christian, to your God? Then you have a problem and that is a form of idolatry.
We’re often not even clear on what love is. Technically, you don’t love things. You like them. Love is reserved more for persons. It is good to love your family, your friends, your pets, and your God. What love really means is to seek the good of the other for the sake of the other. This can produce powerful feelings and emotions, but love is not one of these things. Our world often thinks that if we lose that feeling or emotion, then the love is gone. In fact, this can lead us to a deeper love. The tragedy is many of us still want the old way of love. The same happens with our relationship with God. Many times God does seem to withdraw His presence. He is wanting us to walk deeper with Him and come to know Him not just through what we feel about Him, but to know Him as He is in Himself. It does not mean that the feelings and emotions will not return. It means though that we are to live on a deeper level. We cannot treat the feelings as if they are mandatory or as if God owes them to us.
I also happen to agree with Lewis who told us that you cannot love something too much. You just love a greater good too little. Suppose you fear you love something more than God, which should be a concern for all Christians. If so, then the goal should not be to love the object you love more than God less. It is to love God even more than that. If you are a sex addict, it is not your goal to love sex less. It is your goal to love sex properly and in ways that are not wrong and to love God more knowing that if you love God more, you will in fact be putting sex in its proper place.
As for hate, if we love something, we will naturally hate something else. We will hate that which is not good for that which we love. Suppose my wife got cancer. I am not going to say then that I love cancer. Not at all. I will hate it because I love my wife and I hate anything that is opposed to her good. The question is not if we are going to hate anything or if we are going to love anything. We will do both and we must do both. The question is are we going to hate the right things the right way and love the right things (Or persons rather) in the right way?
And what way is that? If we are Christians, we must look to God and get our loves and hates in line with His. If He loves something, so should we. If He hates something, so should we. Whatever is on top of His love list should be on top of ours and whatever is lesser on His should be lesser on ours.
Let’s move past this idea that all love is good and all hate is bad. It’s not. If we want to be informed thinkers and speakers and Christians, we need to recognize distinctions. Let’s get our own loves and hates in order.