Anger Is Not Hatred

“Haters!” That is the vitriolic label often spewed out like molten lava on the living when a difference in position surfaces. It is as if those with whom one cannot agree are immediately judged, sentenced and dispatched; no due process, no impartial hearing and no opportunity to submit evidence, just condemnation. The emotions further heat up, however, if there is ever disagreement with anger. Woe to the dissenter if his or her conviction is such that anger is expressed.

Our culture seems to bandy about the “hater” moniker with little thought to its damage or concern for its justification. It must be the case that a person who would use this condemnation flippantly does not understand the nature of God. According to the Bible, God has the capacity to be angry and not hate.

As Isaiah pleaded with apostate Israel to repent and return to the Lord, even as he recounted the details of their belligerent rebellion, he would say repetitively of God: “For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still” (Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4; cf. 12:1-6). Over and over, the mouthpiece of God conveyed God’s frustration, His disappointment and His condemnation of the sin in His people; yet still, there was hope.

God is not a “hater.” Yet, He was angry with the immorality, the religious hypocrisy and the social abuses that Israel had made commonplace in their culture. He did not hate His children; He loved them. Hence, in “His anger,” He condemned their sin while simultaneously extending His hand to save them.

Christians are often labeled “haters” because they will not support, condone or ignore the sins of society. We will be persecuted, denigrated and dismissed because we express an emotional, heart-wrenching disappointment that so many are leaving the straight and narrow way. We will be marginalized, mocked and maligned because we will not approve of or support departures from the Bible’s plain teaching. However, we are not haters; we love humanity. Hence, we are angry and continue to reach out with the saving Gospel. A Christian will not compromise, concede or capitulate but Christians are not “haters.”

Jeff Sweeten