I recently had the privilege to pray for our nation and its leaders at a gathering led by President Donald Trump.
I asked for God’s help and wisdom for our president and Vice President Mike Pence, along with our congressmen as they attempt to help steer our troubled country through some very turbulent times.
America has flaunted its sexual immorality to the world. We’ve neglected many of the poor and suffering and are guilty of much injustice, pride and self-indulgence. We are broken spiritually, adrift morally and divided politically and racially—following whichever direction the bankrupt culture seems to drive us.
Sadly, the voices of hate have grown increasingly loud and insulting, and it was my prayer then and now that God would silence these voices like he shut the mouths of the lions when Daniel was hurled into the den.
While those hateful voices have been raised on both sides of the political aisle, we must realize that ultimately what is transpiring in our nation is an increasing hatred of God, His Word and His ways.
As we learn to love righteousness and hate sin, we must never, ever, turn to hating our fellow man.
In my lifetime, I have never seen such blatant and incessant animosity toward Christ and His followers. We should not be surprised, because the Scripture tells us that if they hated the Lord Jesus Christ, they surely would despise those who worship and serve Him.
I think of the recent ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Bremerton, Wash., high school football coach Joe Kennedy. For eight years, Coach Kennedy took a knee and prayed silently after games. But in 2015, he was suspended by the school district when he refused to discontinue his prayers, and his contract was not renewed.
The federal appeals court said in their appalling ruling: “When Kennedy kneeled and prayed on the 50-yard line immediately after games, while in view of students and parents, he spoke as a public employee … and his speech therefore was constitutionally unprotected.”
Can you believe it? A coach, public or parochial, is not allowed to simply bow and silently pray because it might offend someone? Not only that, but in the eyes of the court this violates the First Amendment, which is supposed to guarantee and protect our religious freedom! As First Liberty Institute, which defended Coach Kennedy, said: “[This] is simply wrong. It is not American, and it is not the America contemplated by our Constitution.”
So let’s be clear. While believers should never raise voices of hate against anyone, the real object of hate in our nation (that has been so blessed by God) is none other than God Himself. What has been historically called good and righteous is now called evil, and what was evil is now called good. The Bible says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20).
In what I can only describe as unbelievable, the Southern Poverty Law Center in Mongtomery, Ala., has labeled a number of Christian organizations—such as the Family Research Council led by my friend Tony Perkins, and D. James Kennedy Ministries-—hate organizations simply because they hold to the teachings of the Bible on key social issues like same-sex marriage. Powerful contributors to the SPLC include Apple President Tim Cook and financial services giant J.P. Morgan. The leftist-progressive media frequently reference the SPLC in their reporting.
The only things I believe the Bible says we should hate are the very things God hates:
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).
“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence” (Psalm 11:5).
“O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10).
However, as we learn to love righteousness and hate sin, we must never, ever, turn to hating our fellow man. “Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness … and does not know where he is going” (1 John 2:11); “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15).
So while the world ratchets up its contempt and cruelty, especially toward disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are called not to return evil for evil, or insult for insult (1 Peter 3:9). Instead, we are to love our enemies and pray for those who launch attacks against us.
Jesus said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
We need to pray for those who hate the Gospel, those who hate the Name of Jesus, those who hate His followers—that they will come out of their self-imposed darkness and into the light of God’s forgiveness through faith and repentance in Christ, who gave Himself for our sins.
The love of Jesus is the supreme antidote against the hate of our culture. It is the love that saved us from our iniquities and will save whomever will call on His Name.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.