You don’t have to spend much time in church to learn that us Christian folk get confused about what God wants from us, what He wants us to avoid, and what He downright hates.
Some believe, for example, with every fiber of their being, that God hates all homosexuals. Many say that’s crazy, God loves everyone, but most of those folk don’t have any gay friends, or black friends, or liberal friends. If God loves all of these people, why don’t we?
Love doesn’t happen from a distance.
The answer? We’re confused. I don’t presume to clear everything up in one post, but I think, given our political discord, and all the hell that comes with it, a reminder of what God hates (and loves) might be a good thing this snowy Sunday AM.
7 Things God Hates
Let’s start with the Old Testament – tons of hateful God-things in that book. Most of the hate rhetoric in the American church today is bolstered by this book.
The Old Testament “Book of Proverbs” is often called a “Book of Wisdom.” Many believe it was written by king Solomon, some say the author is unknown. Either way, it’s good stuff, you should read it when you get a chance. If you don’t have a Bible, let me know, I’ll mail you a good one.
Anyway, the Book of Proverbs is crystal clear about the stuff God hates (recounted here in the King James English to make it sound scary):
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
So – lying, pride, injustice, a love for trouble, lying, and the spirit of division are things God can’t stand. Did you catch the word that the author uses to describe all of these? Abomination. If you’re Christian, you’re familiar with that one – it’s the word that another book in the Old Testament uses to describe homosexuality.
How the Christian world came to see homosexuality as one of the deepest sins a person can commit, while simultaneously supporting Donald Trump, while demoting “social justice” to an evil agenda, is one of the main reasons the unbelieving world laughs, really hard, at us.
If you don’t see the irony here, I can’t help you.
But we’re angry. We’ve tied everything to our hatred of abortion and gay marriage – so much so that the first politician that comes along and rubs us on our angry spots gets our vote, and our trust, regardless of the fact that he’s the poster child for everything that the Book of Proverbs is hoping we’ll avoid like the plague.
Does God hate gay marriage? Does He hate abortion? Is it our job to oppose gay marriage? Should we begin every conversation with a gay person by trying to convince them that they’re a sinner?
Isn’t God warming up the lightning bolts for America because we allow gay marriage? Shouldn’t we, as God’s faithful army, get in everyone’s face about this stuff?
Isn’t it our responsibility to protect Our country?
What about abortion? If the thing inside the womb is a human, on any level, isn’t it pure evil to allow people to terminate it? Shouldn’t we oppose it? Doesn’t it fall under the category of “hands that shed innocent blood” from Proverbs’ list of 7 things God hates? And aren’t we equally screwed because our country allows it?
I’ll add here that abortion rates are lower than they’ve ever been. They were lower than they’d ever been under the previous administration as well, but nobody said anything about that. It’s only a win for us Evangelicals if a conservative politician is holding the steering wheel.
Countries that legalize abortion have lower abortion rates. There are some in the US that don’t give a rip about abortion, and there are some that believe it’s evil to force a woman’s choice. Then there are some that oppose it but still believe that the best way to fight it is to legalize it – less abortions happen in that scenario.
But the question stands – doesn’t God hate the issues that are hot for us so much that He’s willing to destroy our country, or at least kick us around a bit because so many people are guilty? That happens in the Old Testament all the time, won’t it happen to us?
Will God punish America?
If you believe that abortion and Gay marriage are what God hates most about America, I can’t help you. We’re the proud owners of mass incarceration, a wage/unemployment gap that’s persisted in our country since we started measuring these things. We have a system that’s not unlike Jim Crow. Our marriages are, half the time, in shambles. We’re in debt up to our ears, personally and corporately. We throw sex around like it’s a soccer ball. We shoot each other – a lot. We grope women, pay them less, downgrade their humanity, and get away with it – a lot.
But these are “liberal” agendas, clearly the spawn of the devil. Start talking “gun control,” “racism,” “pride day,” or, God forbid, “social justice,” and God’s people stop listening. You can’t listen when you’re angry, even if God’s trying to talk to you.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
When God does decide to kick butt in the Old Testament – it’s never because of abortion or gay marriage. His response to sin is driven by two things – injustice and idolatry (the worship of other Gods).
Take the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Many use this to defend the belief that homosexuality is dooming our country – hence the propensity to bombard gay people with solicitations to act more “Christian” the minute they set foot in our churches.
There’s homosexuality in this story to be sure, but that’s not the issue. In this city/culture, things had gotten so bad that it was “normal” for people to “have their way” with newcomers. Today, we’d call that rape – regardless of the sex/orientation of the participants. It’s a form of injustice only a small percentage of humanity would condone, and most of them are in jail.
But we’re so hot on the homosexuality issue that we can’t see past it, especially when we’re reading our Bibles. Hot buttons are the number one reason why we frequently misread the scriptures. My hot buttons are holy, why would I not see them where they don’t exist?
Then there’s the scene where God razes Israel, His favorite nation, to the ground and sends “His people” packing to live in a pagan country, for a super long time. As the story goes, the prophet Isaiah was sent beforehand to warn the Israelites to stop their “sin,” namely, the worship of false Gods, and – get your popcorn – injustice; cheating, treating people poorly, people in power keeping everyone else down, etc.
When you think about it, idolatry and injustice are the same thing. We worship false gods (in our culture; money, sex, power, fame) because we want something we don’t have. We bow down to these things, give what they ask, fully expecting them to deliver something they never do. Injustice is the same thing – we cheat, hold on to power at the expense of others, turn a blind eye to suffering, say things like “you never had it so good,” etc., because we expect to get something that we never get.
In both scenarios the focus is on us. God, and His values, are nowhere to be found.
If God were to punish us, it would be for the blatant and rampant idolatry and injustice that has overthrown our minds. Our typical Christian definition of sin tends to miss stuff like this.
I’m not suggesting that we should get ready for lightning bolts, and I’m not attempting to address the difficult theology associated with God’s wrath. I’m trying to bring some clarity/peace to christian politics, re-focus our agendas, and reconcile us to the rest of the world.
But I do believe that God gets angry. In a sense, we are all sinners in the hands of an angry God as some like to put it. We need to stop pointing fingers and look at the sin in our own lives.
Got hates sin. And sometimes He does something about it.
As Christian pundits have been saying for awhile now – the trick for Christians is not to be liberal or conservative, it’s to understand what God values, and/or to stop being so confused about what He hates.
But we can’t do that when we’re so hot on a couple of issues that our minds aren’t open to the rest. Ironically, the more ramped up we get, the narrower our minds become, and that’s when our Christian definition of sin leads us to support the things that God hates.
We become a caricature of what God is hoping for. We talk ad-nauseum about the fact that God hates sin, all the while perpetrating/committing the things that the Bible says He hates the most.