Pondering the Principles of Proverbs
Hate seems to come easy. It seems to be the way of life in this hour.
Proverbs 8:13 reads: "All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech."
From this proverb is born the thought that a good Christian will tell all who will listen everything that s/he hates. Most of those who are of this persuasion say they are only pointing out what God hates.
The result of this? The world thinks that Christianity is a "hate" religion.
And so we have unbelievers constantly challenging our faith with such slings as "don't judge," or "God is love."
Many well-intentioned believers have bought into the notion of "hate the sin, but love the sinner." They even use those words when confronted by an unbeliever for their apparent "hate speech."
A good rebuttal used by unbelievers might be "I love the believer, I just hate your beliefs." We inadvertently give them the ammunition they need to continue in their disbelief.
I guess a modern paraphrase of Jesus' words would be, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you broadcast what I am against." (John 13:35)
Consider, if you will, the psychology of hating the sin and loving the sinner. Is it even possible to do so? Of course, the quick, glib answer without thought is, "Yes, it is possible to love the sinner while hating the sin."
How do you feel when someone attacks something you've said or done? Something inside you rises up and wants to defend.
Is it not because you feel as if they have attacked you personally?
Until we each get to the place where we are not identified by what we do or what we believe, we will always react against any perceived attack. Criticism is an attack.
Criticism is also counterproductive. It very seldom produces the desired result of bringing about change in the one being criticized. Since criticism is perceived to be an attack, it becomes necessary to defend oneself against the attack. Defense is a strengthening of position.
Therefore, when one is criticized, they strengthen their position for whatever it is they are being criticized for.
When I was first beginning to teach the Bible, I was still smoking. I felt that I should quit, because I recognized that smoking was an addiction over which I had no control. People would come to me at different times with different ways of telling me that I really should give up the habit. When they did, I would always give an answer as to why I was still smoking. Those answers were inadvertently strengthening my position as a smoker.
If you will recall our study on THE ISSUE OF LIFE--pt. 2, you will recognize the principle at work. I was putting thoughts into my mind that HAD to be worked out in the natural. Modern brain research has shown that the body/actions will line up with whatever the mind believes.
My mind was being fed all the reasons why my body should smoke cigarettes. Therefore, I continued to be a smoker.
The exact same principle is at work whenever we criticize anyone for anything. They are forced to defend their position to us, thereby strengthening whatever it is that we think they should not be doing.
What a waste of time and effort.
You say, "We are supposed to warn the wicked of their evil ways."
Really? Where do we get such a notion?
The only place that occurs is in Ezekiel, chapters 3 and 33; and both of those passages are predicated upon first being told by the Lord to do so. So, if that is your calling in life, then go for it. (Just make sure that your life lines up with at least the same quality as Ezekiel's.)
Could it be that the passage under consideration--Pro 8:13--is not speaking of hatred toward those who practice evil?
(For the sake of argument, say, "Yes.")
Well, then, to what does the proverb speak?
Is it not possible that we are are here warned to hate the evil in our own life? Could it be that when David wrote in the Psalms that he hated "every false way" that he was more concerned about his own heart? (Psalm 119:128)
Could it be that Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said, "First take the beam out of your own eye?" (Matt. 7:5)
Could it be that Paul knew what he was talking about when he said the "name of God is dishonored among the (unbelievers) because of our actions? (Rom. 17:24)
Would we not be more effective in our life and in our witness if we were to develop a holy passionate HATE for anything in our life that is not pleasing to the Lord, or that keeps us from experiencing the absolute fullness of joy of His presence?
Hate your own sin, and let the Spirit of God do His work in convicting the unbeliever. (John 16:8)
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