We throw around the word “hate” without much regard for what it really means. I realized this when my middle son started saying “I hate this” and “I hate that.” “What in the world could a four-year-old possibly hate?” But I do it, too. I say I hate anything being left on the counter. I hate slippery roads. I hate, I hate, I hate.
“Hate” in today’s passage is much more serious than the way we use the word. It doesn’t mean that God just “doesn’t like” this or that. Rather, God’s “hating” these seven things means that He utterly despises and rejects them. These things do more than cause God to frown; they invoke His animosity and rejection. That frightens me because I’m guilty of most of these sins. I’ve had haughty eyes and a lying tongue. I’ve devised wicked schemes. I’ve rushed into evil. I’ve lied and stirred up conflict. I have even murdered people in my heart, which Jesus tells us is just as bad as the physical act (see Matt. 5:21–22). Like yesterday’s passage, these verses are a stern warning to guard our hearts and lives, lest we find ourselves on the wrong side of God’s fury.
Read in isolation, this passage can seem crippling. Like Jesus’ disciples, we may hear this and exclaim, “Who can be saved?” To which Jesus responds to His disciples, and to us today: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25–26). The bad news is that we are all guilty. The good news is that God has provided forgiveness for the things He hates through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
>> The seven sins listed in today’s reading may seem regrettably familiar to you as well. If you are guilty of any, run to Jesus today and trust Him for the forgiveness of your sins. God has provided a way for our sins to be forgiven.
Oh Lord, we so easily forget the festering evil of sin. Impress on our hearts the gravity of the sins we consider trifles. How can we truly repent and rejoice in our salvation without understanding sin’s enormity?