Friday, August 03, 2007

Is hatred okay for christians?

I kind of grew up with this fakish understanding/interpretation of turn the other cheek, love your enemies etc. Hatred was considered an unchristian emotion. C.S. Lewis and others get freaked out by David’s imprecatory prayers in the psalms–you know–the “god please make my enemies fall into a nest of scorpions, skunks, and porcupines.” We weren’t allowed to pray/think that way, even though the jews certainly *were*.

A couple years ago my wife and I were invited to attend a Purim service with an orthodox Jewish family that are friends of ours. We all gathered in the synagogue, and we were all given little noisemakers. then the whole book of esther was read out loud. Every time Haman’s name was about to be read out, everyone would use their noisemakers and their voices and feet and hands to make enormous lots of noise, so as to blot out the reading of his name. They would go on for 2 or 3 minutes every time. There was this astounding anger and hatred toward him–a wish to blot out his name and memory forever. They do this every year at purim–orthodox jews all over the world. The negative emotion is palpable and intense. I found it a little frightening. But I think they are onto something. Haman wanted to completely and utterly wipe out the jewish people, and he nearly pulled it off.

Dan Allender said we must hate the perp so much that we want him to die. Not to be obliterated completely–but that the person who did such a horrifying crime against us would cease to exist, and in their place would be born an amazing new person–the compassionate, wise, gentle, glorious person god meant them to be.This is something I’ve seen Iraqi people doing in a couple documentaries and news reports I’ve seen–calling out to god to destroy and wreak vengeance on those who have brought blood and ashes upon them. There’s something so amazingly real and refreshing about that after trying to listen to american christian positive thinking “Your best life now” type stuff.


Megs said...

yes it's ok to hate ... ecclesiastes - a time to love, a time to HATE. it's liberating, when we hate, to acknowledge and examine and describe the hatred and the feelings around it. And we all do hate...

(i love you!)

Anonymous said...

Where is it that Allendar says that?


byron smith said...

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12.

And yet there's that love your enemies thing. Is it possible to love and hate at the same time? Could the opposite of love be not hate, but indifference?

Benjamin Ady said...


that would be a verbal comment to my wife which she related to me. I think at Cross sound church one week--or perhaps at a conference somewhere. So it's a paraphrase of a second hand account of a comment.

But he does say similar stuff in Bold Love.

Hope you had a lovely vacation in that lovely misty looking place pictured at the top of your blog last week

Benjamin Ady said...


I think you nailed it! Crazy old Jesus, always insisting that we mere humans live in the middle of antinomy. It would be so much ... simpler to just have it black and white and clear and simple, wouldn't it?