There has been some controversy recently over certain churches and people who call themselves Christian, but confess open hate for people who are not like them. They stand at funerals and on the streets, and make videos on YouTube telling people how God hates them for being sinners, or simply for being different. Lyrics from one of their music videos say “Stupid Jews, God hates you and you know it, God hates you and you know it.” This is not the only group of people that does this, but I will be using the Westboro Baptist Church as an example since they have been in the media recently and often for their hate attitude towards others.
I would like to present then a study of love and hate in the Bible. Using scriptures straight from the KJV bible, we will look at the following questions:
Does God really hate us?
Does God hate anything, and if so what?
What is love?
What does God command us to do in regards to love and hate?
Does God really hate us?
The word hate is found 85 times in the King James Bible. There is not a single verse that indicates that God hates people in any form or fashion. In fact, many of the verses containing the word hate are verses where God commands us not to hate one another. Example: Leviticus 19:17 “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”
The opposite of hate is love. Because there are no verses in the Bible indicating that God hates people, we will examine some verses opposite in nature.
Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…” So we see here that he has a great love for us. A great love is quite the opposite of hate.
Ephesians 3:19 “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Here we see that there is such a thing as the love of Christ. Not the hate of Christ, but the love of Christ.
Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” This verse is very important, because it shows that Christ loved us and died for us because of his love.
Titus 3:4 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared…” We see two things here, first we see the word kindness in description of god, and then we see that the love of God our Savior was directed towards man… that’s us. Does a kind God hate people? No. Kindness and hate do not go hand in hand. This is a very specific verse when it comes to showing that God’s love is directed towards humankind.
1John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” Yet again we see God bestowing love upon us, mankind.
1John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This verse shows us again that we can perceive, or know the love of God because he died for us.
1John 4:10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love didn’t start with us loving God, it started with him loving us.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God doesn’t just love some of us, he loves the whole world. In fact, he loves us all so much that he sent his only begotten son to die for us!
Just by reading the Bible literally we can see many times over that God does not hate us, but he loves us. When there is not a single verse in the Bible saying that God hates people, but are a multitude of verses stating that God loves us so much that he sent his only son to die for us, we can see that God definitely does not hate any person.
Does God hate anything, and if so what?
Now that we’ve established that God does not direct hate towards people, let’s look at a couple of verses that tell us what God does hate.
Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
We can see here that there are six things that the Lord hates:
1) A proud look
2) A lying tongue
3) Hands that shed innocent blood,
4) A heart that devises wicked imaginations
5) Feet that are fast to run to mischief/trouble
6) A false witness that speaks lies.
Notice the seventh thing in these verses: “He that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16 says that the Lord hates six things and seven are an abomination. The only thing listed that is actually a person or people says God doesn’t hate but it’s an abomination to Him. If God only hates six things, and people are never listed in those six one time, then we know that God does not hate people. He does hate sin, but not the people who sin. The seventh thing “he that soweth discord among brethren” is something that the Lord doesn’t like as it’s an “abomination” to him, but this is not one of the six things listed that the Lord hates.
Isaiah 61:8 “For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering.” Here we see that the Lord hates robbery for a burnt offering, but this does not indicate in any way that he hates the robber himself.
Zechariah 8:17 “And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.” Again we see that the lord hates evil in hearts against other people and loving false things, but this does not indicate that he hates the people involved in any way.
With the first two questions we’ve established that God does not hate people. There are certain things he does hate, but people are not on that list in any way, shape, or form. Who hates other people then if God doesn’t? The Bible gives us a clear picture of the answer to this question, so let’s take a look.
Proverbs 29:10 “The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.” That’s a pretty harsh statement ‘bloodthirsty.” In other words you could say that someone who is bloodthirsty is ‘out for blood,’ or in other words, out to cause harm to someone. People who hate the upright (or righteous) are out to cause these people harm.
Since we are using the Westboro Baptist Church as an example, let’s take a look at who this church and it’s people hate: Gays, Catholics, soldiers, Jews, Hinduism, Islam, Protestants. Yeah, you read that last one right: Protestants. They’re not just out against other religions, they’re out against Christians! Guess who’s listed as a protestant religion… Baptists. So this is a church claiming to be Baptist, but they hate other Baptists?
Something’s wrong with this picture and we’ll start to see what a little later in the study. But I’d like to point out that basically these people hate anybody who is not them. There are other people out there who they hate who are upright and who are living Godly lives. Does this then make this particular group, a bloodthirsty group? Decide for yourself.
1John 3:13 “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” Who hates brethren? The world. Worldly people in other words who are not of Christ. Let’s take a look at the next two verses to clear this verse up a little bit:
1John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Since hate is the opposite of love, and we know that these people literally hate everyone who is not like them, we can say they do not love other people. They certainly don’t show kindness towards them in any way. The verse above is telling us that if you don’t love, you don’t know God. In other words, if you’re hating on other people, you’re not saved… God is love, and if God is love and we hate, how can we know him and be saved?
1John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” Again, here we see reinforcement of the previous verse. Every one that loves is born of God (saved), and knows God. They aren’t loving, they’re hating, so what does that make this particular group? Unsaved.
What is love?
So what is love? Well, we passed the answer to this a short while back in 1John. 1John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God is love. I love this verse so much. God is love. He is the beginning of love as we saw earlier, and being an kind and loving God, he has some commandments for us to follow regarding love. On to the next question.
What does God command us to do in regards to love and hate?
Leviticus 19:17-18 “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” God starts this verse off with telling us not to hate our brother, or brethren in our hearts. If we don’t hate them in our hearts, then we’re obviously not going to be showing outward hate to them either. He also tells us not to bear grudges against the children of our people.
I watched a 20/20 documentary on a family from this church. They are taught that if their children question the church, not matter their age, they are to be disowned and are no longer allowed to live with or associate with the family, even if they change their minds later on. This one particular family had already kicked out a 20 year old daughter, and said they were close to kicking out their 8 or 9 year old son because he was questioning their beliefs. They were definitely holding a grudge and had told 20/20 that they wouldn’t speak to their daughter again.
God also tells us in this set of verses to love thy neighbor as thyself, and reminds us that he is the LORD, who is giving us these commandments.
Matthew 5:43-44 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” This is a super powerful verse. Jesus tells us to LOVE our enemies! To BLESS them that curse us and do good to them that hate us! Even to pray for them that use and persecute us! This is not a message of hate, but of love, from a loving God and Saviour.
2Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” This verse tells us that if we live in peace than God will be with us. When you have people standing on the road or picketing at funerals shouting that God hates you, this is not living in peace. If you are living in hate and not peacefully then, does this mean God is not with you? You decide.
1Thessalonians 1:3 “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” We are supposed to remember without ever stopping, that we should work in faith and labor in love. Not labor in hate. This is done in the sight of God.
1Thessalonians 4:9 “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” God teaches us to love each other repeatedly in the Bible, not to hate each other.
1Timothy 6:11 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” If we are of God we should be following after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. Nowhere here does it say if we are people of God that we should follow after hate.
2Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Power, love, and a sound mind are what God gives us. Not hate. If we hate then (which is opposite of what he gives us), then are we not of a sound mind? You decide. Obviously if they read the Bible and find it riddled with hate, then somebody is not of a sound mind.
1John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Enough said.
1John 4:12 “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
1John 4:21 “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” If we love God, God commands us to love our brethren also.
There are many more verses pertaining to God’s love and his commandments of love towards us, and they are all worth looking up. What I hoped to convey to you here is that there is no possible way that if a person is saved and reading the Christian Bible, that they could perceive that God hates people. The Bible tells us that the Lord is a kind, merciful, loving God full of grace, not hatred.
We are told in the Bible to judge what kind of person someone is by their fruit (fruit being what kind of work they’re doing). What kind of work is the Westboro Baptist Church doing? I do not see good works coming from these people. I see works of hate and malice, picketing funerals telling families of soldiers and college students that God hated them and wanted them all to die. If God is love, and people who love God produce loving types of fruits, who do these people work for?
Another point I hoped to get across is that we cannot judge an entire denomination of people by one group. When the Bible says if you hate other people you’re not saved, I believe it. How then can unsaved people call themselves Baptists? I have a personal belief in this that Satan uses people, (especially unsaved people), to turn other people away from God. He’s got many different ways, and this is one of them.
Too many times in the past year since this church has been in the news, have I heard people say, “I hate Baptists, they picket funerals,” and “Baptists make me so mad, look what they do on TV.” I myself am Baptist and I can tell you that I have never been to a Baptist church that believes any of the things that Westboro Baptist Church teaches. We also saw that this particular church preaches against other Baptist Churches as evil. What better way for Satan to turn people away from God than to show them the worst type of example of what a ‘Christian’ or ‘Baptist’ supposedly is than by spreading it all over the news.
The third and last point that I wanted to get across to you, is to try people by their works. If somebody is telling you that God hates people, then you will know from scriptures that "they that love not know not God for God is love."
Until next time, God loves you all, and blessings!
For reference about Westboro Baptist Church (and prepare to be appalled):