One would think that it would be easy to discern the difference between loving someone and hating someone. Hate is a word we rarely use appropriately when you really think about it. I hate the cold. I hate Brussels sprouts. I hate it when you do that. But rarely, if ever, would we hear in Christian circles (and even in non-Christian circles) I hate her or I hate him.
I am reading another Paul Tripp book – “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.” It has been around a while but I am reading it for a counseling training class. A good read. About halfway through the book he talks about hatred – in a chapter about speaking the truth in love!
He makes a statement that is a powerful truth that I have never thought about. “There is no neutral ground between love and hatred.”
He is sharing this in the context of biblical confrontation, speaking the truth in love. Tripp is relating to Leviticus 19:15-18 when he says, “Embedded in the passage is a contrast between love and hatred. If you tried to illustrate this passage, it would look like this: At the center is a high plateau of love, based on a commitment to honest rebuke. On either side is a dark valley of hatred. One is the valley of passive hatred and the other is the valley of active hatred.”
Have you ever really thought of the two kinds of hatred? Passive and active? He points out 2 forms of passive hatred from the passage: “Favoritism, granting favor to some but refusing it to others because of a standard we set up in our own minds” and “…bearing a grudge.” He then shares three forms of active hatred from the passage: injustice, gossip and revenge. YIKES. Have you ever thought of gossip as a form of hatred?
Think about it. If you are not loving the person, the only alternative is a form of hatred. There is no neutral ground. You may want to argue that point, I know I do, but biblically we do not have a leg to stand on. I don’t know about you, but when I take a good hard look at my life, I am very convicted of the many times I have hated not loved.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:20-21
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!
i Paul David Tripp. (2002). Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. P&R Publishing.
ii Leviticus 19:15-18: “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD. “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.