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Author Topic: Righteous Hatred?  (Read 644 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: July 16, 2012, 11:00:26 PM »

Regarding verses like this in the Psalms...

"Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies." - Ps. 139:21-22

When reading/praying them I have usually assumed some type of allegorical understanding. It is sin that we hate, it is when we sin that we are being enemies of God, thus we hate our sins, etc. However, I wondered if this kind of interpretation was the only way to understand it. After all, if we can be "angry and sin not," can we also hate and sin not? I don't claim to know. I almost certainly think not. Yet I still wonder. Consider the following two passages from these two saints...

Quote
If then Simon, for wishing  to get this power for a price, is to perish, how great is the impiety of Manes, who said that he was the Holy Ghost?  Let us hate them who are worthy of hatred; let us turn away from them from whom God turns away; let us also ourselves say unto God with all boldness concerning all heretics, 'Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee, and am not I grieved with Thine enemies.' For there is also an enmity which is right, according as it is written, 'I will put enmity between you and her seed'; for friendship with the serpent works enmity with God, and death.

-- St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 16, 10

Quote
I am surprised that the reverend bishop in whose diocese he is said to be a presbyter acquiesces in this his mad preaching, and
 that he does not rather with apostolic rod, nay with a rod of iron, shatter this useless vessel (Ps. 2:9) and deliver him for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved. (1 Cor. 5:5) He should remember the words that are said: "When thou sawest a thief, then thou   consentedst unto him; and hast been partaker with adulterers;" (Ps. 50:18) and in another place, "I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord;" (Ps. 101:8) and again "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred." (Ps. 139:21-22)

-- St. Jerome, Letter 109: To Riparius

What are we to make of passages such as this? But then of course there are contrary passages, which say to "love the sinner but hate the sin," such as...

Quote
How will he fulfil this, save with that 'perfect hatred,' that he hate in them that they are wicked, and love that they are men?

-- St. Augustine, Exposition on Psalm 139

Quote
The perfect man ought therefore to practice love, and thence to haste to the divine friendship, fulfilling the commandments from love. And loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, or impiety, or adultery, or theft; but the thief, the impious, the adulterer, not as far as he sins, and in respect of the actions by which he stains the name of man, but as he is a man, and the work of God.

-- St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 4, 13

Quote
One must hate, not them but their doctrine: not the man, but the wicked conduct, the corrupt mind. For the man is God's work, but the deceit is the devil's work. Do thou not therefore confound the things of God and the things of the devil.

-- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 33 on First Corinthians

So... is hatred always wrong? Is it always wrong when directed at a person? What about anger for that matter? Does it matter if it's directed at a person, or idea, or thing?
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 12:02:16 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I can't speak for the Fathers there, I suppose it is their business to speak for themselves.  As to hatred, I can only share what the Spirit works on my own heart from time to time..

Quote
  So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:12-13

The Apostle Paul in Romans 12 speaks more specifically to the idea you mentioned, of hating the sin and not the sinner.

Quote
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,â
.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 01:26:04 AM »

Regarding verses like this in the Psalms...

"Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies." - Ps. 139:21-22

When reading/praying them I have usually assumed some type of allegorical understanding. It is sin that we hate, it is when we sin that we are being enemies of God, thus we hate our sins, etc. However, I wondered if this kind of interpretation was the only way to understand it. After all, if we can be "angry and sin not," can we also hate and sin not? I don't claim to know. I almost certainly think not. Yet I still wonder. Consider the following two passages from these two saints...

Quote
If then Simon, for wishing  to get this power for a price, is to perish, how great is the impiety of Manes, who said that he was the Holy Ghost?  Let us hate them who are worthy of hatred; let us turn away from them from whom God turns away; let us also ourselves say unto God with all boldness concerning all heretics, 'Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee, and am not I grieved with Thine enemies.' For there is also an enmity which is right, according as it is written, 'I will put enmity between you and her seed'; for friendship with the serpent works enmity with God, and death.

-- St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 16, 10

Quote
I am surprised that the reverend bishop in whose diocese he is said to be a presbyter acquiesces in this his mad preaching, and
 that he does not rather with apostolic rod, nay with a rod of iron, shatter this useless vessel (Ps. 2:9) and deliver him for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved. (1 Cor. 5:5) He should remember the words that are said: "When thou sawest a thief, then thou   consentedst unto him; and hast been partaker with adulterers;" (Ps. 50:18) and in another place, "I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord;" (Ps. 101:Cool and again "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred." (Ps. 139:21-22)

-- St. Jerome, Letter 109: To Riparius

What are we to make of passages such as this? But then of course there are contrary passages, which say to "love the sinner but hate the sin," such as...

Quote
How will he fulfil this, save with that 'perfect hatred,' that he hate in them that they are wicked, and love that they are men?

-- St. Augustine, Exposition on Psalm 139

Quote
The perfect man ought therefore to practice love, and thence to haste to the divine friendship, fulfilling the commandments from love. And loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, or impiety, or adultery, or theft; but the thief, the impious, the adulterer, not as far as he sins, and in respect of the actions by which he stains the name of man, but as he is a man, and the work of God.

-- St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 4, 13

Quote
One must hate, not them but their doctrine: not the man, but the wicked conduct, the corrupt mind. For the man is God's work, but the deceit is the devil's work. Do thou not therefore confound the things of God and the things of the devil.

-- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 33 on First Corinthians

So... is hatred always wrong? Is it always wrong when directed at a person? What about anger for that matter? Does it matter if it's directed at a person, or idea, or thing?

Well, St. Isaac even goes so far as to say this (note the part about the demons): "What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God."

I tend to agree with St. Isaac on this (as most) issues.
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 02:03:20 AM »

Great thread!

Habte, those are great responses, but most of them seem to be dealing with not judging or persecuting people who judge or persecute us.  What about those who hate God though?  I'm not trying to be picky, but is there a distinction there?

James, another great quote.  Again though, while it seems to contradict the early quotes that Asteriktos listed, do we pick the ones we like most or identify with the most?
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 02:07:38 AM »

Big A,

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

When Christ says "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other", I take it to mean obedience, not emotion. The master who is disobeyed can be said to be hated.
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 02:10:09 AM »

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

What about the St. Cyril and St. Jerome quotes?  Were they misinterpreting the Hebrew intent of the statements?
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 02:18:10 AM »

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

What about the St. Cyril and St. Jerome quotes?  Were they misinterpreting the Hebrew intent of the statements?
No, they seem to have gotten it. St. Cyril commands us to turn away from heresy, which is the act of hating it.
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 02:20:56 AM »

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

What about the St. Cyril and St. Jerome quotes?  Were they misinterpreting the Hebrew intent of the statements?
No, they seem to have gotten it. St. Cyril commands us to turn away from heresy, which is the act of hating it.

Ahh, Ok.  So how do you distinguish between the act and feeling of hate.  Cutting them off from the Church?
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 04:47:37 AM »

I like the St. Augustine quote.
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 10:02:06 PM »

Big A,

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

When Christ says "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other", I take it to mean obedience, not emotion. The master who is disobeyed can be said to be hated.

Good thoughts!   It is of slightly more interest to me as, when I first became a Christian, I used to follow a guy who took those kind of passages literally and said we really should (emotionally/etc.) hate people who are "enemies of God"...
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 10:10:57 PM »

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

What about the St. Cyril and St. Jerome quotes?  Were they misinterpreting the Hebrew intent of the statements?
No, they seem to have gotten it. St. Cyril commands us to turn away from heresy, which is the act of hating it.

Ahh, Ok.  So how do you distinguish between the act and feeling of hate.  Cutting them off from the Church?
rejecting manes means rejecting his teaching and/or practice, IMO.
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 03:34:51 AM »

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

What about the St. Cyril and St. Jerome quotes?  Were they misinterpreting the Hebrew intent of the statements?
No, they seem to have gotten it. St. Cyril commands us to turn away from heresy, which is the act of hating it.

Ahh, Ok.  So how do you distinguish between the act and feeling of hate.  Cutting them off from the Church?
rejecting manes means rejecting his teaching and/or practice, IMO.

Therefore hating manes means hating his teaching and/or practice.
As much as I wanted to be able to hate people, your point makes a lot of sense, especially considering the broader context.
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2012, 03:38:37 AM »

These are Hebrews. When they wanna get all mushy, they say something like, "my spirit is troubled" or "I have fallen into the pit of sheol". They don't talk about hate.

Hate seems to be an act for them, not some sort of feeling.

What about the St. Cyril and St. Jerome quotes?  Were they misinterpreting the Hebrew intent of the statements?
No, they seem to have gotten it. St. Cyril commands us to turn away from heresy, which is the act of hating it.

Ahh, Ok.  So how do you distinguish between the act and feeling of hate.  Cutting them off from the Church?
rejecting manes means rejecting his teaching and/or practice, IMO.

Therefore hating manes means hating his teaching and/or practice.
As much as I wanted to be able to hate people, your point makes a lot of sense, especially considering the broader context.

Righteous anger is okay, as far as I know.

Although we could go into a discussion about the difference between being angry, and being offended or, even worse, "outraged".

Anyway, here is another example of hatred from the Old Testament:

"You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods." -Deuteronomy 12:31

Another "hated way" where hatred is tied to action and obedience. The Lord's way is opposed to their way.
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2012, 04:58:54 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

My own two cents:

Human emotions come realistically in two, and only two varieties: fear and love.  Anger and sadness stem from fear.  When folks are angry, they are really just expressing their fear at a lack of control of a given situation or circumstance which has angered them.  When folks are sad or grieving, it is the same fear manifested in a different way, but fear all the same, as folks are afraid of the lack of control and the pain it causes.  Love on the other hand, builds joy, peace, and harmony.  When we are growing in love, we grow with God.  When we are  falling into fear, we are pushing ourselves away from God like Adam and Eve did when they were afraid in the Garden of Eden.  Like the Apostle Paul tells us, "Perfect love casts out all fear."

So we realistically shouldn't let ourselves get angry, even if in the sense of righteous indignation, because the reality is that anger is fear, and with God in our lives, what do we really need to be afraid of? Why should we be overwhelmed by anger when God is at the helm? Why should we let sadness blacken our lives when God is always near? We need to cultivate and build love, and fear will only challenge our ability to love the others, to love God, and to love own self.

Father Meletios talks about this as well, when he mentions that we can't rely upon our emotions, because they stem from our broken personalities, the gap between heart and mind.  Emotions he argues, come from the fractured mind, they are shallow and unreliable.  Faith in God comes from the heart, which is Love.  We then need by fasting and prayer to learn how to not get caught up in our emotions, which are really just fear or love, and instead, follow our hearts to God.


stay blessed,
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2012, 09:21:13 PM »

As a person grows in  God's Grace,  whatever passions they have such as:  Hatred, revenge, jealousy, envy, are overcome.  This is the reason the Holy Spirit is known as the  'Comforter'.  He comforts us and puts peace in our hearts.

Here's a few excerpts from the book:  Wounded by Love, by the Elder Porphyrios:

"...We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. We need to do the same..."

"..When we speak evil about someone, an evil power proceeds from within us and is transmitted to the other person, just as the voice is transmitted on sound waves, and in point of fact the other person suffers evil. It is something like the bewitchment of the evil eye, when someone has evil thoughts about others. This occurs through our own indignation. We transmit our evil in a mystical way. It is not God who provokes evil, but rather people’s wickedness. God does not punish, but our own evil disposition is transmitted to the soul of the other in a mysterious way and does evil. Christ never wishes evil. On the contrary, He commands, Bless those who curse you..."

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/elderporphyrios_dispositions.aspx
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2012, 11:15:59 PM »

As a person grows in  God's Grace,  whatever passions they have such as:  Hatred, revenge, jealousy, envy, are overcome.  This is the reason the Holy Spirit is known as the  'Comforter'.  He comforts us and puts peace in our hearts.

Here's a few excerpts from the book:  Wounded by Love, by the Elder Porphyrios:

"...We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. We need to do the same..."

"..When we speak evil about someone, an evil power proceeds from within us and is transmitted to the other person, just as the voice is transmitted on sound waves, and in point of fact the other person suffers evil. It is something like the bewitchment of the evil eye, when someone has evil thoughts about others. This occurs through our own indignation. We transmit our evil in a mystical way. It is not God who provokes evil, but rather people’s wickedness. God does not punish, but our own evil disposition is transmitted to the soul of the other in a mysterious way and does evil. Christ never wishes evil. On the contrary, He commands, Bless those who curse you..."

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/elderporphyrios_dispositions.aspx

I don't think a righteous indignation towards an injustice would fall into the same category as hate or any other negative passion.  Even Christ was aroused when the money lenders were in the temple, but He didn't hate them.  God is incapable of hate.    I should think if someone was to ignore an injustice, and not have a sense of righteous indignation, then to me they would be just as guilty as the perpetrator?    Undecided 
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2012, 12:13:30 AM »

God is incapable of [no warning buzzer went off when you got this far?] hate. 
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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2012, 03:32:57 PM »

God is incapable of [no warning buzzer went off when you got this far?] hate. 

If saints, who are men and therefore sinful, are able to eliminate their negative 'passions' such as hatred, then surely God Who is perfection  would not have those passions.  To believe otherwise I should think, would be an oxymoron.  Undecided
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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2012, 04:00:44 PM »

If saints, who are men and therefore sinful, are able to eliminate their negative 'passions' such as hatred, then surely God Who is perfection  would not have those passions.  To believe otherwise I should think, would be an oxymoron.  Undecided

What you describe is different from being incapable. I am wary of statements that claim God is incapable of anything.  Methinks you should be too.

Did you read the below quote and the Psalms mentioned in the commentary by saints?  Are you disagreeing with them?

"...for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods..." -Deuteronomy 12:31

Nicholas has done a good job of explaining the difference between the emotion and action of hate.  Scripture and the quotes from the OP indicate that God does, in fact, hate.  That hate, however, may be different from the what you think it is. 

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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2012, 04:24:52 PM »

If saints, who are men and therefore sinful, are able to eliminate their negative 'passions' such as hatred, then surely God Who is perfection  would not have those passions.  To believe otherwise I should think, would be an oxymoron.  Undecided

What you describe is different from being incapable. I am wary of statements that claim God is incapable of anything.  Methinks you should be too.

Did you read the below quote and the Psalms mentioned in the commentary by saints?  Are you disagreeing with them?

"...for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods..." -Deuteronomy 12:31

Nicholas has done a good job of explaining the difference between the emotion and action of hate.  Scripture and the quotes from the OP indicate that God does, in fact, hate.  That hate, however, may be different from the what you think it is. 


It's only semantics.  God's 'hatred' is a rejection of anything destructive and 'negative' since He consists of Pure Love.  For God to hate would be an oxymoron.  How can a destructive and negative passion such as hatred, penetrate the purely Creative and loving power of God?   In that sense, God is incapable of hatred.   The only reason the word hatred is being used in the Bible and by saints instead of rejection,  is so we can more fully comprehend the extent of God's rejection.   Smiley
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