“We Don’t Say That”… But should we?”

by DanWolgemuth on August 20, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on April 19, 2013.

Hate was a word that simply wasn’t acceptable in the home in which I grew up. I don’t know if this was an outcome of deep pacifist roots from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – or a pragmatic view that the vast majority of the time that this word is used, it is wildly inappropriate, sinful, trivialized or all of the above. I’m quite certain that even as my children are reading this opening paragraph, they are aligning their own experience in my household with my personal memory. They’re nodding, and most likely should be.

Perhaps this is why a recent captivation with Romans 12:9 has been so deeply moving to me. As the Spirit of God moved the pen of the Apostle Paul, he wrote: “Let love be genuine, hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”

This is a theological sandwich, of which I wholeheartedly embrace both slices of bread – loving in authentic ways and holding firmly to all that is good – but neglecting, if not disobeying the peanut butter middle:


I am not presently disregarding or even discounting the Godly and good lessons instilled in me from my parents, but my heightened sensitivity to this word has propelled it off of the pages of my Bible.

  • A misprint?– I don’t think so.
  • A poor translation?– the Greek doesn’t lie: apostygéō.
  • An invitation to frivolous application? (like the utilization of this expression or emotion for inconveniences such as poor cell phone coverage, a flight delay, an impolite driver, or the many other relevant examples that are presently racing through your mind) – this most certainly is not.

Hate is a stewardship. It must be focused on the bulls-eye with ruthless diligence. Hitting the target simply isn’t good enough. Precision is a requirement.

But neglecting hate is disobedient. (Sorry Andrew, Erik and Alli – I might have missed an important lesson here.)

Frankly, even typing these words causes my fingers to tremble.

We are commanded to love, to serve, to sacrifice, to turn the other cheek, to esteem others more highly than ourselves… and yes, we are instructed to “hate what is evil.”

When bodies fly and blood runs because of unfettered evil.
When innocence is stolen for pleasure or power.
When God’s masterpiece is less important than convenience or comfort.
When injustice and exploitation suffocate.
When evil, regardless of the mask it is wearing, is exposed.

I simply can’t love as genuinely, and I can’t cling as tightly to what is good if I don’t learn to hate… (trembling fingers again).


Vile, hideous, unspeakable… evil.

Use with extraordinary caution, but obey.

Hate evil – so that love and goodness can be liberated and illuminated.

“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil…” ~ Proverbs 8:13a 

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