LOVE AND HATE
A Series by Kymone Hinds
A modern philosopher once said, “You can’t hate what you didn’t once love.” Her contention is that love and hate are the extremes of the same emotion. To hate is a commitment. This philosopher and scholar says that in order to hate something, you have to have had some emotional tie to it at first. In order to hate something, you could not have been indifferent to it. Then it turns on its head from a strong positive to a strong negative feeling.
It’s interesting that for many of us, we can have a love/hate relationship with the same thing or same person, at the same time. We can have a strong affinity for something but have a strong dislike for it at the same time. Simple case in point: My body has a love/hate relationship with chocolate. My taste buds love it. My tummy hates it. Love/hate relationship.
As we discuss the church and the world, it is clear that there is a love/hate relationship going on. When we examine how the church has been called and sent into the world, we find a tension. There is a love/hate relationship between the church and the world. If we are not careful, we can be confused about our role and function. We can be confused as to how to relate, interact or connect with the world around us.
John 3:16 & 17 tells us:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
It is clear that God loves the world and God sends His Son into the world. We should love what God loves. So we are to love the world. When it talks about the world here, it is talking about people. The people of the world. God loves the people of the world.
But 1 John 2:15-17 (same author, by the way) says:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
All that is in the world…it is talking about things. It’s talking about ideals and values. It’s talking about ideology of the world. It explains it:
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
God loves the world so much that He sent His Son to die for it. We should love what God loves. But on the other hand, don’t love the world! If you love the world, the love of the father isn’t in you.
Love the world. Hate the world. Love/hate relationship. Let’s stay on this a bit more...
2 Corinthians 6:17 in the NKJV says:
Therefore,“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”
Come out from the world.
But then Mark 16:15 says:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Go into the world. Come out from the world.
Do you catch the tension?Do you feel the strain?
Are you seeing this weird relationship?
God calls us to love the world. God calls us to hate the world.
We can go text after text.
One that says, I’m sending you into the world.
Another says, Come out from the world.
God has a heart and a love for the world.
You are to hate the world. The world will hate you. It’s a love/hate relationship.
It can be confusing. We like either or. We like black and white. We want to know yes or no. But in this case this tension does not go away. It’s not an either or. It’s a both and.
We love the world AND hate the world at the same time. The key for the church is figuring out how to love the world and hate the world at the same time.
The foundational principle of worldliness is selfishness. And the Bible says, hate that. The world’s value system, we are to hate that.
Unfortunately we too often do the opposite. We love the value system and the ideology of the world and we live by it. But we hate the people of the world and we disengage from them.
God is calling the church to love the world – the people in the world and God is calling the church to hate the world – the value system of the world. So how does the church accomplish this? How do we develop and maintain the right love/hate relationship? How do we ensure we’re loving the people and hating the values?
In the next issue we will look at the powerful reality that God uses the same thing to call us out of the world that He uses to send us back into the world with.
Kymone Hinds, his wife and their three energetic children live in Memphis, TN.
He pastors two churches - Overton Park SDA and Journey Fellowship.
Hinds also speaks and writes regularly on different life issues.
You can connect with Kymone via twitter (@kymonehinds) or on his blog at kymonehinds.com