Overcoming Sin through Christ: Hatred and Enmity

Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Hate and Hatred

Hatred and Enmity

Have you ever hated someone?  Has anyone ever hated you?  People use “hatred” in many ways. They “hate” the weather, they “hate” barking dogs, they “hate” a certain food, and they “hate” a job. But we are particularly concerned here about hating another person. Let’s see how devastating this sin is!

Although some people say that this is a “mental” sin and it doesn’t harm anyone, it definitely is sinful and has huge effects.  The Greek verb, miseo, denotes “hating or having malicious feelings toward things or people.”[1][1]  Misein is “an intense aversion or active hostility that is expressed in settled opposition to a person or thing.”[2][2]

A related word is echthra, translated “enmities” in Galatians 5:20.  Barclay says that echthros “is the normal Greek word for an enemy, and echthra for enmity.”[3][3] It can be used of “the enmity between man and man.”  W. E. Vine says that this word “is the opposite of agape, ‘love.’”[4][4]  Barclay also points out these opposite terms.  “Echthra is the attitude of mind and heart which puts up the barriers and which draws the sword; agape is the attitude of heart and mind which widens the circle and holds out the hand of friendship and opens the arms of love.  The one is the work of the flesh; the other is the fruit of the Spirit.”[5][5]

The Greek verb, miseo, can be used both in a positive way and a negative way.  Jesus said to the Ephesians, “You hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Revelation 2:6).  We are to “hate” false teaching just as Jesus does.  The Hebrew writer quotes Psalm 45:7 of Jesus, “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness” (1:9).  We also should “hate” lawlessness and all sin.

Paul says that hatred also has a place in our life: “Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).  We are to “hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104, 128).  We are to “hate and despise falsehood” (v. 163). In a enigmatic passage, Jesus commands us, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).  In this case, “hate” is used to mean we should have such a consuming love for Christ that all other “loves” seem like “hatred” in comparison.  Therefore, hatred does have a place in our life, depending on the object of such hatred.

The Scriptures state that we should expect the world’s hatred.  “You will be hated by all because of My name” (Matthew 10:22a).  We should even rejoice in such hatred!  “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22).  We must realize that Jesus Himself received the hatred of others, thus it is to be expected that we also will receive their animosity.  Christ explained, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:18-19; cf. vv. 23-25; 17:14).

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (7:7). Hatred will come if we point out the sins of others!  We so seldom receive the world’s animosity because we so seldom expose the sin of the world (cf. Ephesians 5:11).  John wrote, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).  In His upper room discourse, Jesus warned, “You will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Matthew 24:9).  He also stated, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13; cf. Luke 21:17).  We will be hated by others because of Jesus! Although we would enjoy being liked by everyone, Jesus warns us, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26a).  We would enjoy their love—but, realistically, we should expect the hatred of some.

Hatred and hate are also used in a negative way in Scripture.  In this sense, miseo can be used of “malicious and unjustifiable feelings toward others, whether towards the innocent or by mutual animosity.”[6][6]  Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).  The Pharisees had the view that they should “hate” their enemies, but Jesus surprisingly stated that they should rather “love” their enemies.  This was a revolutionary teaching!

John had much to say about the sinfulness of hating another person.  He put it this way: “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now” (1 John 2:9; cf. v. 11).  The one who hates is living in spiritual darkness!  The apostle goes on to show how serious it is to hate another: “He who does not love abides in death.  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:14b-15; cf. 4:20).  From God’s perspective, if we “hate” a brother, we are actually “murdering” him!  But hatred is a common sin of the unbeliever.  Paul stated that people spend their life “in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3).

When you are tempted to have hatred well up in your heart against someone who has offended you, accused you, or harmed you, remember to love him or her.  When you are inclined to have bitter hatred toward another person, remember that God considers this as murder!


[1][1] Mounce, Expository Dictionary.

[2][2] The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.

[3][3] Flesh and Spirit, p. 39.

[4][4] Expository Dictionary.

[5][5] Flesh and Spirit, p. 42.

[6][6] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.




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