Psalm 97:10 says it as succinctly as it can be said: “O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” This terse exhortation may come as a bit of a surprise to many Christians. “Hate” after all is something we modern followers of Jesus never want to be associated with. We prefer to be described as loving. And of course we should be. But to love what is good involves hating what is evil (Rom.12:9; Amos 5:15). Especially when it comes to loving God.
How can we say that we love a righteous and holy God while being passive about the things that nailed his Son to a cross? How can we draw near to have fellowship with a perfect and pure Lord and not disdain that which is perverse and impure? Yes, we need the psalmist’s curt rebuke, to hate what is evil, regardless of how unpopular it may be. And though God commands of us this uncomfortable emotion, he clearly prohibits any sinful expressions of hatred. “Be angry and do not sin” God’s word tells us (Eph.4:26). That may be hard, but indifference is not the solution. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil” (Pr.8:13). This indignation may drive us to passionate prayer, ardent proclamation or even stern rebuke, but never apathy.
So may our zeal for God and love for good be evident. May it rightly be said of us: “They love the Lord and hate evil” (Ps.97:10)!