Thursday, November 30, 2017

Is Christianity Only About Love?


            Some Christians believe that Historic Christianity is only about love. (When I refer to Historic Christianity, I preclude all other flavors of Christianity that contradict the core essence of Historic Christianity.)

            These brothers and sisters consistently harp on verses that communicate love: ‘God is love, ‘love your neighbors’ etc. Love is the only lens through which these Christians assimilate Christianity. Hence, their beloved slogan is love, love, and more love.  

            Is this the most perfect understanding of Christianity?

            Let’s examine the following aspects:

            (1) If Christianity is only about love, then there should be NO room for ‘hatred.’ But if Christians are mandated to hate someone or something, then Christianity is not only about love. So is Christianity only about love or is there room for hatred?

            (2) The command to love our neighbor is with a qualifier. The qualifier is this: you love your neighbor as you love yourself. We are not called to love our neighbors, but we are to love them as we love ourselves. What does it mean to love our neighbors as we love ourselves?

Should Christians Hate?

            If you study the verses that mandate love, you would learn that the verses mandating love in the Gospel of John and in the letters of Apostle John, the author defines a boundary for love. The love mandated in these writings is between fellow believers. These verses do not necessarily mandate love between the believers and the unbelievers of the God of the Bible. Consider a few verses:

            John 13: 34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

            1 John 2:9-11: “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

            1 John 4:20: “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.”

            But when Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31), HE had already annihilated the boundary that limits love. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), Christ defines a neighbor as anyone we would come into contact with – be it Christian or non-Christian. Therefore, Christians are mandated to love our neighbors (anyone) as we love ourselves.

            Although Christians are called to love everyone, there is still room for hatred. For instance, God, who Christians are to primarily love, obey and emulate is not all about love. Yes, God is not all about love; God hates certain actions and certain people. Consider these verses:

            God hates wicked people (Psalm 5:5: “You hate all who do wrong”).

            God hates wicked deeds and wicked people (Proverbs 6:16 -19 (MSG): Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.).

            God’s hatred is unlike human hatred. Although the wrath of God is upon all those who do not believe HIM (Matthew 10:28; John 3:36; Romans 1:18), God sends rain and sunshine upon the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:43-48). Because God loves both the believers and the unbelievers, HE has provided ways and means for the unbelievers to believe in HIM and be saved. Therefore, God’s wrath is only upon those who consciously reject HIM.

            God does not mandate Christians to merely love. Christians are mandated to hate evil. Here are a couple of verses for your consideration:

            Psalm 97:10: "Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked."

            Romans 12:9: "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

            Believers of God are to hate evildoers as well. But this is a righteous hatred. This is not a hatred that seeks harm upon the subject of our hate.

            Significantly, Christians are called to hate Satan. We are mandated to perpetually battle Satan (Ephesians 6:10-18).

            The Psalmist says, “I hate double-minded people…” (Psalm 119:113). And elsewhere the Psalmist says, “Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.” (Psalm 3:7). Does the Psalmist, out of his abundant love for his enemies, plead to God to break their teeth? Or would you say that the Psalmist had not understood God adequately?

            If your child is kidnapped, would you not pray for deliverance? Of course, you would! Do you realize, at times, the only means to deliver your child is by killing the kidnappers?

            Any Christian, who claims that he would forget his child and not take any action against the kidnappers because he is mandated to love his enemies a.k.a. the kidnappers must be obtusely insane and acutely ignorant of the Bible.

            To those of you who say, hate the sin but love the sinner, I ask, just as how you may accommodate a needy person in your home, would your sacrificial love for a pedophile motivate you to accommodate him at your home with your children, thereby endangering your children’s lives? Or would your amazing love for your fellow neighbor and enemy – the ISIS – prompt you to fund their intents?

            Only an insane Christian would intentionally accommodate a pedophile at his home, thereby endangering his own children, whom he should only nurture and protect. Only a stupid Christian would fund the ISIS (thereby placing many innocent lives at risk) just because the Bible says that he is to love his enemies.

            Believe it or not; there is room, in Christianity, for righteous hatred! The prison is the most appropriate location for a pedophile, terrorist, and all evildoers. The primary expression of your love for your enemies should prompt you, as a responsible Christian, to inform the police upon sighting an evildoer.

            What about your colleague who misappropriates funds at your workplace? Isn’t he your neighbor and your enemy? He robs the company of its financial resources, an outcome of which could jeopardize your job. Would you, in your abundant love for your dishonest colleague, not inform your managers of your colleague’s misdemeanor, so to deceive your organization?  

            Christianity allows for righteous hatred! Upon your report, if your dishonest colleague gets fired, your love for him could motivate you to serve him by striving to transform him and alleviating his financial needs, if he is needy. But love for our neighbors does not entail Christians to promote evil in any size, form or manner.

            Here’s another articulation of righteous hatred, “…if the love is real, it must include hate…We hate evil because it is wrong. But on the other hand, if this hatred is part of loving our enemies, we must hate the evil of our enemies because of what the evil means for them…ISIS does evil and is evil — and our love for them means we hate both. We hate that they are blinded by darkness, that they are trapped by Satan’s schemes, that they are following the course of this world and ignorant of it all (Ephesians 2:2; 4:18). But that hate, if we are obeying Jesus, means that we hate them not only because of their disgusting injustice, but for what that injustice means for their souls…Love for our enemies means, fundamentally, that we hate our enemies for wholeheartedly joining in the evil that will ultimately cause their damnation (John 5:29). That is the kind of hate — the kind of love — that might look on them and say, in the spirit of our Savior, Father, forgive them for being so oblivious to what they’re doing. Open their eyes.”1

How To Truly Love?

            Loving your neighbors as you love yourself is easier said than done. Quite a few of us scream at the top of our voices that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves.


            I love myself and my family so much that I give us the best my money can buy. Does your life reflect this statement?

            True love is not visiting orphanages and elderly care homes once or twice a year. True love is not to help a senior citizen cross the road or offering a small portion of what’s in your wallet to your neighborhood beggar or the homeless.

            As long as there are needy people in your vicinity who are unable to eat three proper meals or afford appropriate healthcare or education, and as long as you and I continue to enjoy all these benefits, we do not truly love our neighbor.

            It’s not true love when we refuse to part with our money, but we assure our neighbors of our prayers. The Bible depicts this situation wonderfully well, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:15-17). Make use of all your resources (financial and non-financial) in such a way that you and your needy neighbors are never in need.

            What then is true love? It is to give and give graciously and freely until our giving hurts us. I am not saying that we should become poor. Moreover, we may not be able to alleviate poverty in our neighborhood. But we can certainly make a strong difference in people’s lives by graciously and sacrificially giving what the Lord has graciously and freely given to us.

            Finally, true love is not to encourage the sins of our fellow Christians. Some Christians claim that Christianity is all about love only to legitimize their own sins or the sins of their fellow Christians (E.g. Endorsing homosexuality).

            Sins are an assault on God. God has defined and determined sins in the Bible. Let us not strive to embark on a futile journey to legitimize sins under the false pretense that Christianity is all about love.


            Christianity is not all about love. Righteous hatred has its place in Christianity.

            When we claim to love others as we love ourselves, let us truly love others without any semblance of hypocrisy or political correctness.



Scripture references are from the NIV unless otherwise mentioned. 

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