Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. – Romans 12:9 (NRSV)
How do we love our enemies?
We trust in God.
We have to trust that God opposes evil right along with us.
Vengeance is only for God; it’s not ours to seek.
Meanwhile, we need to hate what is evil, and we need that hatred so that we can fight evil effectively. I promised I would do this in my baptismal vows. Maybe you did, too.
I, however, have spent very little time addressing how I might, specifically, hate that evil, as Paul says. Maybe it’s because hatred can be so dangerous. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to hate a person than something more amorphous or conceptual. I have spent so much time focusing on how to love that I have very little practice in how to hate. Which means that when hate has arisen within me, I have been completely unprepared.
Which makes me wonder: does that serve?
What I pull from Paul today is that it is possible to love and to hate at the same time.
I love the person because Jesus says I have to.
But I hate what they do because Paul taught me to. And I need to hate their evil in order to overcome it.
What deserves your hatred?
Help me to hold on to what is good, O God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.