I will never forget the time when I was in a fierce battle, attacked on many fronts. Having suffered a severe back injury, I was living with chronic pain, which kept me housebound and even bedridden for hours a day. The spiritual and emotional warfare I experienced was devastating, and I fought daily not to sink into total despair. It was during our annual Campmeeting, of which I had always been a vital part, but this year while everyone was rejoicing in the high services, I was alone at home.
It had been a particularly oppressive day, and that evening as I read my Bible, I tried hard to distract myself from the increasing tension in my spirit. The devil was sitting on my shoulder delivering an earful of mockery: “Look at you! You used to preach during Campmeeting, and now while everyone else is rejoicing at church, you're stuck at home, lying in a bed of affliction!”
Unable to concentrate on reading, I got up and walked around the bedroom, trying to block out the accusations of the enemy. I went to the bathroom and sat down, reading the Scriptures on sticky notes I had pasted on the wall in front of me. It was then I heard it—an AUDIBLE VOICE—Not in my head or my spirit, but out loud. It said in a snarly tone: “GOD HATES YOU!” It was so loud, I almost fell off my seat. I willfully recovered myself, because I knew I had to fight back hard against this blatant lie of the adversary. I could not afford to let this thought overtake my mind, and I rebuked it forcefully. Later that night I had a supernatural experience which resulted in God's deliverance, and proved to me just how much God loves me. But I won’t ever forget those ugly words of hate.
Hate is An Awful Word!
Recently I have become aware of a new phenomenon in the Body of Christ. Honestly, I am astounded by how often Christians are using the terms HATE & HATERS to refer to other Christians! This is the work of the devil. This is Satan's language, and should never be on the lips of God's children when speaking of other believers! I have even observed ministers posting remarks on social media, calling those who disagree with their opinions, or who hold a negative viewpoint regarding their spiritual blessings, “HATERS”! These things just cut to my spirit! How can Christians call other Christians haters for any reason?
Admittedly, there are strong divisions at times in the Body of Christ between spiritual and worldly factions. We know when people are carnal and live a carnal lifestyle, they are hostile to the things of the Spirit, and by extension, may display hostility to those who live on a higher spiritual plane (Romans 8:5-8). It is incumbent upon us to exhort them, even to “rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13), and there may be pushback. But for the love of God, we should never call them haters!
How can we reconcile such terminology with the Word of God: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that hateth his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1John 3:13-15). It is impossible to have the true spirit of Christ and call one another haters! My thought is that people are just recklessly using this term, because it's so prevalent in the world, and they don't realize what they're doing. BUT IT NEEDS TO STOP! It is a deadly poison!
Imagine what the world thinks of us using such words to refer to one another! Christians are already being called “haters” by the world, especially those who speak out against homosexuality. We are being painted as intolerable bigots, narrow-minded, self-righteous, religious fanatics. And that's okay. Jesus said that men will persecute us, and revile us, and speak all manner of evil against us falsely for His sake, and He told us to rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is our reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12). But He also said that if we call another brother, “Raca,” which means “to be worthless,” we are in danger of judgment. And if we call our brother a “fool,” we are in danger of hell fire! (Matthew 6:22). Do we really think that it's okay to call our brother a hater?
The only way we can persuade sinners and outsiders that we serve a loving and compassionate God, who is forgiving and merciful, is if they can see His love demonstrated in the life of His children. Who wants to become a Christian if they refer to each other with such hateful terms? This ought not to be, my brothers and sisters! We should not be assisting Satan, “the accuser of the brethren,” by accusing one another as being hateful! (Ref. Rev.12:10).
God has put this heavily upon my heart, and the urgency I feel is not to be taken lightly. No one preaches more boldly than this Ministry, and I am not ashamed to tell it like it is, because I am committed to winning souls and helping the Saints make Heaven. But God's Word tells me to “speak the truth IN LOVE!” (Ephesians 4:15). Not in hate!
There Is A Time to Hate
The Wiseman said: “There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate…” (Ecclesiastes 3:8). We are told in Psalms 45:7 and Hebrews 1:9 that God anointed Jesus with the oil of gladness above His fellows, because “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness.” We are given a clear illustration of this in Jesus' letters to the seven churches of Revelation. To the church of Ephesus He wrote: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” He also wrote to the church of Pergamos: “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate” (Rev.2:6&15).
Notice Jesus said He hates “the deeds and the doctrine”—not the Nicolaitans! We also are confronted with unholy deeds and unscriptural doctrines that our righteous disposition hates, because we see how offensive they are to God and how destructive they are to man. It is scriptural to hate every false way. Just get a Bible concordance and check the words hate, hatest, haters, hateth, and hating, and you will quickly find there are many things that a righteous God hates, especially sins of the tongue (Proverbs 6:16-19). Jude told us that we are to hate even the garments that are spotted by the flesh (v.23).You will also find many references of the ungodly hating the righteous. The world hates us because we testify against it, and everyone who does evil hates the light, because it exposes his sin (John 3:20).
I should point out that there are some verses where the word hate is a bad translation, because it actually means “not preferred”, as when “Jacob loved Rachel and hated Leah.” Obviously, he did not hate Leah, or he would not have had seven children with her! The meaning is that he did not prefer Leah, and that she was less loved than her sister.
In his letter to Titus, Paul exhorted believers to speak evil of no man, but to be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men. In support of this, he described our former behavior in sin, saying that we were: “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that, the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared” (Titus 3:3-4). It is sinners who not only hate us, but who hate one another—not saints!
It has always been a staple sermon topic of ministers to preach on loving one another in the Body of Christ, but I never expected to see the day when we must preach on not hating one another!
“But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness has blinded his eyes” (1John2:11).
I pray that if you have ignorantly fallen into this snare, you will experience a heart-change, free from all such hate speech. “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable” Proverbs 10:32