Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Love and (necessarily?) Hate

Love, when properly understood is necessarily and rightly accompanied by hate. In fact, I think it can be said that we can measure our moral character by what we can’t stand.

First of all, I’m not all that interested in hating people. I think Scripture and Christian teaching are clear that people are to be loved with God’s kind of sacrificial love. But then, I also believe that Scripture and Christian teaching are clear that the development of moral virtue in our lives is accompanied by a development in the things we hate.

To love a person is to properly hate the things that separate them from God and destroy their lives. God, for instance, hates divorce. Does that mean he hates divorcees? Such a conclusion would be silly – he hates the dysfunction that leads to and destruction that results from divorce exactly because he so deeply loves divorcees. If someone you love deeply is destroying their life, chances are you can’t stand the behaviors or habits causing their ruin. And it is right for you to hate those things – because they hurt the ones you love.

If love can be understood this way, then our popular cultural view of love should be immediately jettisoned. It is commonly thought that to love someone is to allow them to be who they want to be or do what they want to do. But if this is true, then there is no real room for my hatred of the things that corrupt and destroy my loved ones.

Thus, true love assumes and enforces moral rights and wrongs.