Hate can be good or bad. All Christians are to hate the things that God hates: Pride, arrogance, evil, the evil way, sin, lies, injustice, dissension among brothers and the unsaved. Even though Christians are to hate the unjust (Proverbs 29.27) we are also commanded to love them (Matthew 5.43-48). We hate their lifestyle and their way of thinking, but we are to love them just the same.
This may seem like a contradiction, but it is not. The hate we have for the wicked can be understood better if we replace the word “hate” with the words “love less.” When Jesus said that those who desire to follow Him must hate their father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and themselves (Luke 14:26), He did not mean Christians must “hate” everyone and themselves to follow Him. He meant they must love others less than they love Him. Christians are to love the lost far less than they love God and each other.
Anyone who claims to be a Christian but holds grudges and hatred toward others including believers, lives apart from the Lord. Scripture teaches us that we must temper bitterness, which quickly turns to hate:
“Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15-16).
All believers who have a problem with bitterness and hatred must ask the Lord for forgiveness and stop biting and devouring each other so they do not miss the grace of God:
“But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Galatians 5:15)
“Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
Hatred is forbidden and those who hate live in darkness:
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart” (Leviticus 19:17).
“He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9-11).