Should You Love Those Who Hate the LORD?
“Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD.”
2 CHRON 19:2
Jehoshaphat’s mistake is a loud message to our rather common misinterpretation of Scripture on “loving people”. Jehosphaphat was a king who actually loved the LORD and walked after Him, but he made this error as recorded in 2 Chronicles 19, and in 1 Kings 22:44, saying, “Jehoshaphat...made peace with the king of Israel.” Ahab was a wicked king who led Israel to worship Baal, and asked Jehoshaphat to join him in a battle the Lord had warned would end in ruin. Not only did the battle end as the Lord had said, but He rebuked Jehoshophat for making a union with this wicked man in the first place.
As Christians we must learn and understand that our devotion is to the Lord and so is our loyalty. There is far too popular an idea in the church today of giving our friendship as an act of “love” and “ministry”, but we must be very careful with this. Now, I do not mean that we shouldn’t sincerely love our enemies nor truly pray for them. We should love all people without bias, and we should truly love them. Rather, I am speaking to the issue of secretly loving the world and making peace with the enemies of God, thereby coming into opposition to God ourselves. This is a love that joins us with those who rebel from the Lord, and our love must have us joined with the Lord alone. It is friendship with the world, the enemy of God.
This is a mistake we so often make, confusing right love for the enemies of God with a love for the world that joins us with the enemies of God. “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Another part of this error is that we stand in opposition to God’s ways and that particularly of His judgement and wrath. Again, we believe that this is love, when this is an ungodly love, one that places man above God. Love of this kind is disloyal to Christ, to the truth, and to the will of God. When we love the world more than we love God, we are not being loving but adulterers: “You adulterous people!” We have become unfaithful to the One we should love and be faithful to above all others. And yet we have such wicked hearts so as to boast in our adultery and call it good!
Jehoshaphat was one who was not loyal: he joined with a very wicked king, one who was greatly opposed to God. This represents to us the foolish error of thinking unity is always good, and failing to recognize that only unity with holiness, truth, and submission to God is good. We are to be a people who, on the one hand, never refuse a single person who accepts Christ and lives in obedience to Him (Psalm 119:63), and yet, on the other hand, reject all that is opposed to Christ. This is where our unity must remain and where it must divide.
While we are called to love and pray for all people, to do good to all, we should be careful to also separate from people who hate the LORD. In a word, we should be on God’s side about things and be very careful that our newfound compassion for the lost does not lead us into a false sympathy for them, a sympathy that takes on their view of God being “too hard”, but instead rightly see how wrong they are to hate God—that such hatred of God is sin and never justified.
Ahab was a king who hated God, who, unlike Jehoshaphat, turned away from God and was busy turning the people of Israel away from the Lord as well. We shouldn’t miss this in the name of compassion! We should not miss the true nature of sin and just how evil it is. Where we fail to comprehend the evils of sin is where we begin to join with the world’s mentality in opposing God. Man is lost and desperately needs to be saved, but this compassion is always directed by God with the truth of just how evil man is, and that he is condemned when he refuses Christ. Man is condemned precisely because, in his wicked heart, he chooses sin over God Himself, over Righteousness Himself (John 3:18-21). Do not miss this in a misguided compassion.
It is good that we have compassion. We are in great need of it, to truly love the lost and pray for them. To give ourselves to serve the Gospel. But we often replace this right love with this false compassion: our flesh’s substitute for right compassion and love. This is a compassion that is rooted in man’s self-bias for his sinful desires. Today more people apologize for the Gospel than preach it! This is being ashamed of the Gospel, and it is our great error (Rom 1:16). Yet many people preach from this error rather than repent of it.
Christ has shown us that holiness comes together in entire love for others, and yet entire love for God is in full support of His judgement. We may not yet understand these things, but it is entirely our sin if we adamantly oppose them rather than seek Christ for understanding. It is enmity with God (James 4:4).
We should care for people’s souls, but we should never pity their sin. We are deceived when we think that God’s methods are to make peace with His enemies by pitying their sin (as man desires) rather than through repentance from sins and atonement through Christ. This is the only peace, and it is the only holy peace.
God’s methods are still always against what is proud, wicked, selfish, and God-hating; though He seeks to save sinners, we must be careful to never take this to mean that God is never working against the wicked and those who hate God. We plead for them to be saved from the fire, but we do not deny the fire or resent God for His fire of judgement—to do so is to take a very wrong stance against God, in a very wrong idea of what mercy is.
Many of us, like Jehoshaphat, think it’s wise to pursue peace in this way, believing unity with people is purely good, failing to realize that what is right is only unity that is based upon righteousness. Many people can be united on the grounds of sin. Unity is not sacred. The reality is that we’re wrong to hand out friendship to those who are no friend to God. To do so is to betray our true Friend. (John 15:15, Matt 12:30)
“Loving” people like this, unifying with people like this, is called compromise, and it’s wicked. We need to realize that in every area wherein we compromise God’s commands there are always consequences. And so there were for Jehoshaphat: when he died, his son Jehoram killed all his brothers, “and he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife.” (2 Chron 21:6, Deut 7:3-4)
October 30, 2020