Just because I don’t agree with you, doesn’t mean I hate you

Just because I don’t agree with you, doesn’t mean I hate you October 8, 2014

Of all the words flung around carelessly these days – like love, sex, marriage, and selfie — perhaps none is more thoughtless than the modern use of “hate.”

Suddenly, any opposition to any idea or principle, regardless of the argument is deemed “hateful.”

For example, my friend Jack said he couldn’t make a wedding cake for two men. He would sell them anything else in his store, but his principles would not allow him to participate in something he felt was morally wrong. Jack the Baker became Jack the Hater. Those of us who know Jack know him to be honest, pure and most of all, loving.

I sat with someone I admire and we were talking about the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder.  He said, “The haters have won.” Regardless of policy decision, political moves, and controversy, any disagreement with the man was thrown into the “hate pile.” I tilted my head. Do I hate him?

It’s on both sides of the aisle. Christians who feel slighted are using the “Don’t hate me bro” defense. I’ve heard people accuse others of hating Hobby Lobby – or Chik Fil A, because they oppose their stands on issues.

Can we stop the hate talk?

Taking a position on policy, or lifestyle, or decisions doesn’t mean that I am coming after your character. It’s quite probable that I can disagree with you and still like you  — even love you. Reasonable humans can do this .

Dumb decision. But I still love him

I love my sons with unshakable fortitude. Yet, I don’t agree with all they do. In fact, I shake my head sometimes and wonder what they are thinking! (even as my father wondered the same.) When I was angry at of one of him for driving my car off road while towing a canoe across the ice, I was completely justified as a parent and as a human. That was just plain dumb. Looking back, we all laugh at it now. But not once did I hate him for his bad decision.

If I think that a country should be able to define and enforce its border, it doesn’t mean I hate immigrants. If I think God defines marriage and not a court, I don’t hate same sex couples. If I think schools shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the concept of God in history, doesn’t mean I hate atheists. Candidates don’t hate children, old people, or women. Well, maybe a couple.

When the Bible tells me to love, it’s a matter of the heart and the soul.  It doesn’t mean that I need to make excuses for behavior or overlook a fallen nature. I love their person, their being regardless of how they act. We love because by doing so it might help them into a right relationship with God.

You see, it’s the world that has love and hate all messed up, not the church.  When the woman was ready to be stoned, Jesus by his persuasive logic of love caused the accusers to melt away. Out of compassion, out of love, he saved her life. But then he said, “Go and sin no more.”  He didn’t hate her, but he still told her change her ways. His love changed the conversation, and so can ours.

I know there are some — and you may be quick to point them out — that have blurred the lines between disagreement and hate. Yup. They are there. But they are not me. They are not my Lord.

Winter PeaceThis quote by Rick Warren just about sums it up:

 “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

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  • WOW David! This is on the money!!! I tire of being accused of bigotry and hatred because i disagree with a lifestyle choice. I have said it before and will say it again: Those who want tolerance quickly become the most intolerant when you disagree with them. I will stand by that. I really agree with Rick’s quote and obviously agree with your post.

    • Bill. Thanks for the kind things you said at your blog about this. It means a lot to me and I respect you. Writing stuff like this is hard — how in the world do pastors like you preach it?

      You are right about tolerance. Crazy word these days

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  • Righto!

    But when those of the world do not know the Author of love… hatred threads easy through their stories.

  • Of course, people need to be judged ( not on their salvation )…but on their actions.

    We are too important not to be judged.

    If we don’t do it, then who will?

  • Hi David! I am coming over from Bill’s blog.

    I think what you are saying is that we all have to respect each other. I may think you are wrong, but that doesn’t give me a license to hate you, and cut you out of my life. We are all called to love each other. It might be hard, but Jesus said it was going to be!

    Nice to meet you :)


  • I repeat some of my comment on Bill’s site. God hates my sin but He loves me. I have hated before, let it consume me till I met the one who did not hate me. In my mind I had good reason to hate but God did not see it that way. He told me to put away all wrath and anger, to focus on people hearts and not their deeds. Yeah I can disagree with someone and not hate them and actually love them. Thank God I don’t need a feeling to do that either. Great post brother.

    • Your use of the rigth Scripture is exactly what we expect of you Betty! Yes — put away wrath and anger. I love some pretty vile people, because God loves them. Who am I to hate because they see things differently?

  • We definitely need to get rid of our hate talk. You’re exactly right that we can disagree without hating; we do it all the time, thank God.

    On the other hand, we also need to recognize when we are hating, which can be difficult. Usually others can see it before we do. That’s why it’s good to have people in our lives who CAN disagree with us and point out to us when we’re hating. Confess it; repent of it; love instead.

    Thanks for the good word, David!

    • I want to engage in political discourse and world events and philosophy — but the “Hate” card when thrown my way is a trump. How do you argue?

      Still, I believe Love Conquers all. And your suggestion to have others who will “check” us is important.

  • Well said. Disagreement does not mean hate. Thinking it does involves letting emotions control you, and that rarely leads anywhere positive. Facts over feelings.

    • Kari. So glad you visited here. I was intrigued at your tie in to emotions … and their control over you. Well put!

  • Well said, David. True wisdom comes from God and even the most intellectual of this fallen world can’t argue with it…

    • The worldly try to argue this stuff and this just look silly. I mean, if they stepped back and evaluated their words… Really?

  • David

    I came over from Bill’s place and glad I did.

    What you’re saying here is so true, I wholeheartedly agree. The word “hate” is such a strong word and culturally we toss it around so nonchalantly. I often wonder if those who throw it around so loosely realize how divisive it is – or maybe they do and they just don’t care. Disagreement does not equal hate.

    Great post, David. It’s something that needed to be said. Thanks.

    • In my house, we call it the “h” word. When the kids would say, “I hate homework” they would be redirected to find other words. Now…it’s just tossed around. I think of the early founders of this country who argued in the halls, often vehemently. Then at night, they would gather in the pub and laugh at the world.

  • Hi David,

    Nice to meet you. I’m hopping over from Bill’s site. I appreciated Rock Warren’s quote at the bottom, summing up the message.

    Have a great week,

    Jennifer Dougan


    • Hi Jennifer. Nice that Bill gave up his pulpit. Warren has had his own share of words and accusations thrown at him.

  • These are definitely things I’ve pondered for a while and considered writing about. This certainly sums up the way I feel. Wonderfully and eloquently stated, David. Thank you.

    • It’s hard to write about these things. Have you preached about them? I imagine that would be even tougher.

  • Well said, David. Thank you.

  • Pam

    Excellent post, David! Excellent! Thanks for your honesty. Well said.

    • Thank you Pam. Funny, while writing this I felt that I would be accused of being hateful.

  • I got this email from a friend. I took out a few parts to protect his identity. What do you think about what he wrote?


    “It’s the Sunday after the Nov election in 2008. The Church is a Baptist “Evangelical” Church of medium size and the place is paced with around 5-600 people, many seeking comfort and consolation after the “devastating” election of Barack Obama. The Pastor tries to give a message that God is still in control, and we may not understand, but need to have faith that God is not blind.

    The service ends….I get up from my seat and step out into the aisle and am face to face with one of the “Inner Circle” men of the Church. You know the ones…..that small group that socializes with the Pastor and the “higher ups” in the Church staff. The ones that run the show, make the decisions, and have deep pockets to fund those decisions.

    He looks me in the eyes and, just assuming that I am in deep agony over the election, as he is, says…..”Maybe someone will shoot that _____.”.

    My friend, there is no place in America where HATE is more alive and well

    than in an “Evangelical Church”. If he could say that to me, hardly knowing my name or much else about me, what on earth do you think they talk about in his “inner circle” at the Church?

    That was the end for me….I didn’t want any part of that kind of hate, racism, and rage. Now I don’t know where you worship, but if this sort of talk is common or even present, then you are the problem by supporting it with your presence. It’s really that simple….we must separate ourselves from those that hate and spread hate, or take the blame for supporting them with our silence. If God hates sin, and that is definitely sin, then we should hate it too. The sin…..hate the sin. I don’t have to hate that man, God handles that for me.

    • Whoever you are: I grew up near Pittsburgh and cringe when I realize I used the “n” word several times not really knowing its import. “Eeny meany miney moe/ catch a “n” by the toe.” All innocent until my mom told me I shouldn’t be using that word. I stopped immediately. Words can be words of hate. I DO NOT condone what that “pillar of the church” said. I believe God doesn’t either. It is racist, inflammatory, vulgar, and downright sinful. I may not have been happy about the election (or about a lot of things) but it is not a call for hatred. I do not like the current Supreme Court decision but hatred toward gays will not solve anything. If you have turned against the church, remember it is about Jesus first and second, not all churches or Christ-followers are that way. David’s post is how we ought to be. Thanks for being bold in writing to David.

  • I’m a new visitor from Jason’s Friday Linkup. Thank you for saying this. It’s one of two things I dislike about social media. (I was going to say “hate” but decided against it.) The other is the way opinion is thrown out as truth. If this is something I believe I have the right to pull out the scalpel and slice you open with my words. It bothers me most when someone begins a comment with, “I’m a Christian.” What ever happened to kindness and respect.

    Oh well, my personal rant. Thanks again for this. It blessed me.

  • Well said!

    Division in our world (and inside the church) is a great tool of satan. It causes hatred, fear, anger, and all sorts of negative/evil things to flourish.

    This is a topic that’s been heavy on my heart lately (and I’m doing a series on it. Today’s topic is division).

    I have many friends how disagree with me about religion and politics, but we love each other and respect our differences.

  • Oh man, this is soooo true!!! If there is something I hate, it’s the way the term ‘tolerance’ has been skewed and mishandled into a tool and weapon with which batter any individual who espouses a view that does not chime with the majority. Well, last I heard, having a principle view on an issue, like, say sexuality, does not preclude one’s capacity to love, value or esteem persons who do not hold the same view. As a culture we’ve grown into an amazingly immature version of discourse where we refuse to countenance anyone’s perspective unless it accords wholeheartedly with our own. And so we hear the words ‘intolerant’ ‘hateful’ ‘bigot’ bandied around like cheap sweets. I think many people are too far removed from real fascism to remember what it actually looks like. Perhaps we should spend more time in the presence of those of an older generation, those who remember racial discrimination, the civil rights movement, and the second world war etc. people who had first hand experience of what hate, bigotry and intolerance actually look like. Perhaps then people would not be so quick to deem anyone with a principled view on an issue as a bigot simply because that view does not agree with their own.

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  • Good point! Lots of people disagree with and/or disapprove of me, but I don’t believe they hate me. More @ http://stevesimms.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/am-i-a-victim-of-discrimination-hate-speech-for-being-a-tongue-talker/

  • Right on, David! Amen! The direction in which our country is taking with more and more *haters* emerging, it is difficult at times to remember to “lover one another.” But that is what we do if we believe in being in union with Christ and following in His footsteps. He disagreed with the Pharisees and the Pharisees disagreed with Him. But which side hated? It wasn’t Jesus. Thank you for posting this. It’s needed!

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  • Keshava Das

    ” I believe your family shouldn’t be recognized, you shouldn’t have parental rights to the children you may be raising, and I believe you are intrinsically disabled and society should teach and counsel people like you, and children like you, to believe as such. Also, I think an ideal world would make homosexuality illegal, and we’d go back to the time in the 80’s when you people had no rights and were regularly stomped over by the majority of people that disapproved of you. But no, I don’t hate you. That’s love. I actually love you! ”

    Trying to control and alter, and having successfully done so for much of human history, the rights and destiny of your neighbors is not a form of love. It’s a form of supremacy, of enforcing your beliefs upon them, and into their lives in profoundly personal ways. It also forces the persons around you to somehow be submissive to your religious beliefs, but controlling them you enforce what you have decided to believe for yourself. I don’t tend to use “hate” unless the animus goes into obscene bias and discomfort, like people who can’t even work on the cars of gay persons, but I abhor the people who will tell me what they do is out of love. Once again, us little “sinners” get told when love is being expressed to us. I wholeheartedly claim the right to reject that, entirely. I’ll determine what, when it comes to me and my life, is and is not done out of love. I’m still old enough to remember what life was like when gay people, which is really what this post is prompted by, had no rights, and we regularly were walked over by society, left out of the estate of our deceased loved ones, and when it was a very poorly state to be a sexual minority. You all ought to remember to, since it wasn’t to long ago, a fact many readers here resent bitterly.

    That wasn’t love, and it wasn’t intended to be love.