It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

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darinhouston
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by darinhouston » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:39 pm

schoel wrote:Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“
This is a direct statement of Jesus that contradicts the Psalmist' notion in Psalm 139:20-22 regarding the hatred of God's enemies. Since the statement by Jesus seems to be very clear, I think the Psalmist statement needs to be understood as having nuance.

1) Perhaps the Psalmist is using hyperbole to emphasize his collusion with God.
2) Or the Psalmists hatred is directed toward unrighteous activities, not persons.
3) Maybe the Psalmist is expressing emotion, but the expression of emotion is not a mandate on how we are to act.

I don't think the Christian is to ever hate people, and I don't think God hates them either.

Dave
I tend to agree with you. I think the psalmist have have just been being honest - even if he wasn't penitent that doesn't mean it was commendable or being sanctioned. I hadn't thought of this text, but it surely does at least seem on point -- do you think this particular psalm is what Jesus was referring to? It does seem at least plausible.

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Paidion
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:30 pm

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:44-48

Jesus revealed the Father to us. The Father does good for both the righteous and the unrighteous, and so should we!

David's hatred of his enemies (with a perfect hatred) in no way justifies our hatred of our enemies. David did not have the revelation of the Father as we have received it through Christ.

No matter how the Father appears to be as recorded in the Old Testament, Jesus revealed Him as He really is.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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steve
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:44 pm

I think many here are unnecessarily representing a discrepancy between the teaching of Jesus and the sentiments of the psalmist. Several posting on this thread speak as if David said that he hates his enemies (contra Jesus' teaching that we should love our enemies). However, David did not express hatred toward his enemies. He pitied Saul and Absolom (his two most malicious enemies). He would not kill them in battle (at the very time they were seeking to kill him), and he wept inconsolably when they died at others' hands. It is a slander to David's character to suggest that he was not a man who loved his enemies.

The scripture I cited in Psalm 139 says nothing about David's hatred for his enemies. He says that he hates those who hate God. They are God's enemies, not David's. He goes on to say that he has "counted them" as his enemies only because of their hatred of God. When God is at war against evil, and evil against God, those who will stand on God's side will, in that act, adopt His enemies as their own. "He who is not with me is against me." There are no neutral parties in this war. One must either have God's enemies as his enemies, or else have God and His friends as enemies.

This has nothing to do with what Jesus taught about loving those who strike you, who curse you, who abuse you, and who hate you. When it came to dealing with these situations, David behaved in all respects as Christ acted and as Christ taught (add Shimei to the list for consideration). Jesus never spoke a word against the kind of loyalty to God's side that David expressed in Psalm 139. I don't say that David never had an uncharitable moment, since he was capable of doing some rather nasty things even to his friends (e.g., Uriah). However, despite his typical human failings, David's general attitude to his personal enemies was anything but typical for his times. It was fairly exemplary.

As for the question of deriving Christian doctrine or principles from the Psalms, this was, chiefly, a practice of Jesus and the apostles. Most of the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount were lifted, without modification, directly from the Psalms. In fact, of all the books of the Old Testament cited in the New Testament, none is quoted as frequently as the Psalms. What's more, Christians are thrice exhorted to sing the Psalms—establishing their content as normative for Christian worship and sentiments. Jesus never said a word contrary to them.

I think the best understanding of "how I hate them that hate thee," is that suggested at the bottom of RickC's last post. If we think of hatred as the opposite of love, then we have difficulty finding a place for the former in light of the New Testament's insistence on the latter. However, if hatred is not seen as the antithesis of "love," but, rather, of "like," then there is no conflict whatever.

schoel
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by schoel » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:33 am

Steve,
I agree with your assessment, but when seer asked the following question:
seer wrote:On Steve's show friday he explained that God is a complex being - that He can both hate a man and love a man at the same time. So would it wrong for us to hate and love our fellow man.
...you posted the reference to this Psalm - 139:20-22, which seemed to me to imply a Biblical precedent for hating someone.

Do you believe that God loves and hates a person at the same time? If so, how is this not weirdly schizophrenic and opposite of what Jesus taught us of the character of God?

I'm not cross examining, just curious why...

Dave

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Jason
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Jason » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:49 am

Steve, should we also sing Psalm 137:9 -- "Blessed be he that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock." Now, I realize that smashing children is a common OT judgement phrase (2 Kings 8:12, Hosea 13:16, Isaiah 13:16, Nahum 3:10) but would we take Pslam 137:9 as a prescription for Christian behavior? Should we not recognize that smashing children and hating the unrighteous are ancient poetic terms? No one speaks that way any more, but those were common phrases in David's time.

Wouldn't this be similar to certain groups plucking doctrine out of Solomon's statements in Ecclesiates? Maybe I'm just too simple to understand Steve's explanation.

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steve
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:25 am

Dave and Jason,

Read what I said again. If you don't understand or don't agree with it, we may have to settle for disagreement between us. It is obvious, as I said on the show, that God can love someone, in one sense, and hate that person, in another sense. And, yes, it is possible for people to do the same, without a bit of schizophrenia. Everyone knows this experience. We hate someone (in the sense, as I mentioned, of the opposite of "liking"—even as we might "hate" brussels sprouts), but we still love them, in the sense of desiring their redemption and eternal happiness.

I hope that no Christian, by becoming a Christian, becomes so one-dimensional that he is incapable of human and godly emotions which even righteous nonbelievers can feel. If there is no rage in the heart of the Christian against such things as injustice and torture, then there is little of the sentiments found in God and in Jesus there. The absence of passion is not a characteristic resembling Christ.

As for singing Psalm 137, I don't think it is a Psalm for general use, as it expresses the sentiments of someone in Babylon, separated from the temple in Jerusalem. I can't think of many circumstances in which Christians might be in a parallel situation, where the song might resonate, since there is no place that we can go where our temple is not. Even so, the singer is not interested in killing any babies. The singer is pronouncing a beatitude upon those who will conquer Babylon, and treat them as they treated Israel. The Jews saw Babylonians dash Jewish babies against walls in the invasion. The singer supposes that the time will come when the Babylonians will see invaders treat them in the same manner—and longed for that day. In fact, the conqueror of Babylon was Cyrus, whom God specifically calls "my shepherd" and "my servant"—not one upon whom it would be inappropriate for God's people to pronounce blessing.

The singer utters a blessing upon those who will conquer Babylon (that they will dash the Babylonian babies is an incidental, colorful detail of what that will look like to the Babylonians—not the expression of a personal grudge against the babies). The Jews (and Christians) in Auschwitz might very well have uttered a blessing upon the Allied forces that freed them. That this was accomplished through the loss of many German lives, and even some Allied atrocities, would not reduce the sense of relief and satisfaction that the German atrocities were now to be brought to an end.

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RickC
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by RickC » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:08 pm

Psalm 137 (NIV)

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill .
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
"Tear it down," they cried,
"tear it down to its foundations!"
8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-
9 he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

The psalmist writes that whoever repays Babylon with the same evil they inflicted on the Jews will be happy in doing so. The idea conveyed isn't that whoever does this "enjoys being cruel." It's the kind of happiness, gladness, or satsifaction that comes after justice has been served.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some personal stuff.
Some of my co-workers are about the most rude, selfish, and inconsiderate people I've ever met in my life. They're so mean-spirited that the only thing I can think of, as to why they're so cruel toward me, is because I've let it be known I'm a Christian.

I detest their filthy talk, continually being "razzed" and made fun of (for no reason I can think of, excepting my being a Christian).

But Christ died for me when I was worse than these folks!
I was HIS DETESTABLE ENEMY and SO ARE THEY.

So what am I to do?
PRAY FOR THEM...and if need be, all nite long during work!
Bless them when THEY CUSS ME OUT!
I treat them as decently as I possibly can...because the Bible tells me so.

If anyone feels led, please pray I find another job.
Pray for me that I'll be a good Christian at work till then...I almost walked out last nite....
They're just plain despicable and act like animals.
But Jesus died for them....

Okay, enuf said. Thanks for listening.
Last edited by RickC on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:05 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Jason
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Jason » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:31 pm

Rick, I can appreciate your situation more than you know. No professing Christian in today's age is going to be exempt from such treatment. Perhaps you will find comfort in knowing that I, and many others, experience the same thing with you. Let's encourage one another in perseverance and pray that we'd all model Christ-like behavior in the "lions den." If you find another job without the hostility it might be a better situation. But that depends on God's will, I suppose.

Steve, I hope you don't think Dave and I are "incapable of human and godly emotions." It's that very thing that makes me cringe when reading a psalm about babies being crushed by rocks. The only way I can make sense of such disgusting imagery in God's word is to reason that the Psalmist was a man of his time and spoke the expressions and idioms of his time. We find that to be the case in other places in scripture so it's not exactly a novel idea.

In Luke 9:54 we read that Jesus was rejected by the Samaritans on his way to Jerusalem, no doubt making them enemies of God. James and John asked if they ought to call down fire from heaven to destroy them. As we know, Jesus rebuked them. Jesus could've said something like, "I appreciate the thought, guys, but I'd rather you didn't do that." Instead he told them they were of an ungodly spirit. But why? Wasn't their motive to be on the side of God?

I can understand and apprecite nuancing the word "hate" to mean "not like." Also, I don't have children but I could imagine experiencing the emotion of hatred toward a godless and rebellious son but still wishing the best for him. Is that more in line with what you think the psalmist meant? David experienced that in extreme measure with Absolom. I find the character of David in "real life" to be at odds with his poetic writings though. Or maybe it just takes a wiser man than I to marry the two.

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steve
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:42 pm

Hi Jason,

I do not mean to imply anything negative about you or David. I only hope that conversion does not turn a man into one incapable of feeling the same rage as do God and Jesus (and David) toward great evil. In fact, the Psalmist who blessed those who would avenge Judah against the Babylonians was doubtless speaking out of the same rage toward those who had dashed Judah's babies in the manner he describes. To wish vengeance upon monstrous deeds is not merely the sentiment of carnal men, but also of the perfected souls in heaven (Rev.6:10).

It is true that Jesus didn't approve of His disciples calling fire down out of heaven on those who refused Christ hospitality (probably not the kind of atrocity David was thinking of when contemplating those who hate God—nor does it rise to the level of dashing babies against walls). David did not call such fire from heaven either (though Elijah did). David did nothing to bring about the vengeance with which he was obviously in sympathy. Like us, he knew the divine promise and prerogative: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord" (Deut.32:35). If God intends to exercise vengeance, then it must not be an ungodly emotion for a godly man to wish for Him to do so. After all, what does the Bible's final prayer— "Even so, Come Lord Jesus!" (Rev.22:20)—imply for the wicked? Out of compassion on those who rape and massacre helpless civilians for sport, should we refrain from echoing this prayer?

I suppose we have not seen, in our part of the world, sufficient atrocities to awaken in us the appropriate degree of indignation. God, and the people of biblical times, enjoyed no such immunity.

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Paidion
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Paidion » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:58 pm

...if hatred is not seen as the antithesis of "love," but, rather, of "like," then there is no conflict whatever.
That is true if "hatred" is regarded as synonymous with "dislike". By why should it be so regarded? Is there any scriptural reason for so doing?

Indeed, the remainder of the verse seems to suggest a much stronger feeling than "dislike"!
Psalms 139:21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I have not studied Hebrew, but in looking up the word (Strongs 0692), a basic meaning given for the word is "loathe." Indeed, the NASB translates all eight occurences of the word as "loathe" with the exception of Job 8:14, where the word appears as an adjective, where, strangely enough, the NASB translates it as "fragile". However, Rotherham translates it as "contempible" which is a fairly good adjectival equivalent to the verb "loathe".

I know the King James translates the word as "grieve" in a few places, for example Psalm 95:10, but I think "loathe" is the correct translation even there. That verse is quoted in the New Testament in Hebrews 3:10, where the word is translated into Greek as "προσχθιξω".
There and verse 17 are the only occurences of the word in the New Testament. Lexicons include the meaning "loathe" for the Greek word also.

However, various translators translate the aorist tense of the word into English as "was grieved", "was angered", "was vexed", "was displeased", and "was offended". But just possibly "loathed" is more accurate.

There's no doubt in my mind that David hated those who hate God, not merely "disliked those who dislike God".

You might think that I have just argued that God loathed the generation of Hebrews who went astray in their hearts and had not known God's ways. I haven't so argued. I have argued only that that is what the Hebrew passage says. Christ is the one who revealed the Father in a quite different way.

Jesus ate and drank with sinners; He was compassionate toward them. Jesus bears the very stamp of the Father's nature. He in Another exactly like the Father in His compassionate nature. He has shown us by example, the nature of the Father.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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