Love vs hate is an age-old dilemma

Ministers say love should always win

The friction between love and hate has been ongoing since humanity first appeared and it’s only intensifying with all the wars and political malice around the world.

God is love. Love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.

Love your enemies.

The Bible is emphatic on the subject yet there are things that it is appropriate for the Christian to hate.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says God hates haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

The Revs. Johnny Touchstone and Vaughny Taylor say it is a complicated question.

“There are things we should hate because God hates them, but as people we should love everybody,” said the Rev. Touchstone, pastor of Vine Baptist Church. “I don’t say it’s easy. We should be led by the Holy Spirit and realize as Ephesians 6:12 says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the authorities and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Touchstone said it is particularly hard to love someone who is very unloving.

“They are just lost,” he said. “The question is, are we acting the way we’re supposed to act? Jesus preached on it in the Sermon on the Mount.

“If you hate somebody, it’s the same thing as killing him. It makes you a murderer.”

Touchstone said he took a young man into his home for two years but was forced to turn him out after a severe disappointment.

“I recently went and helped him after he had a blowout, but I don’t let him back in my life,” he said. “I can’t trust him anymore and I feel that he would hurt us again.

“But I’m not going to mistreat him. I think he’s lost. I wish he’d get saved. He thinks he is OK with God, but his actions don’t show that.”

The Rev. Taylor, pastor of Central Baptist Church, said there should be a differentiation between the words “hate” and “evil.”

“I may say I hate a certain kind of candy bar, but what I really mean is that I just extremely dislike it,” he said. “Our hatred should always be directed toward evil because Jesus hated the evil one.

“If darkness is the absence of light, then hatred is the absence of love.”

In John 15:18, Taylor noted, Jesus told his disciples that the world hated them because it hated him first.

“He said, ‘If you belonged to the world it would love you as its own,’” the pastor said. “Jesus chose us out of the world and therefore the world hates us for being Christians.

“What we’re seeing today is nothing different from what took place in Jesus’ time with the religious leaders and Roman leaders. We just have to figure out which side is the most right and it’s not an easy process. We’re called on to love and we need God to guide us.

“We should never give hurt for hurt.”