What Do You Hate?
O you who love the Lord, hate evil! Psalm 97.10a
It is easy to read this verse and agree wholeheartedly with it. We hate the evil we see in the world. We hate the suffering and pain it brings about, but do we hate our own sin this way?
Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil. Psalm 36:1-4
I read Psalm 36 today, and I was I challenged and convicted about how I think about my own sin. Too often we can read the first part of this psalm and think this does not apply to us because we are not wicked. We see this as a description of the wicked people out in the world. However, notice what David writes in verse two, “For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.”
There is a pattern that brings people to the point in verse 1 where there is no fear of God in their eyes. This pattern starts when we minimize our sin and think too highly of ourselves. When we make excuses for our actions, we are blinding ourselves to the sin in our lives. Sin does not disappear when I ignore it. When I ignore sin, I am just giving it more control in my life. Excusing my sin keeps me from seeing it for what it is and keeps me from hating it. When I ignore or justify sin, I am pretending that it is something good.
When we flatter ourselves, our words become troublesome and deceitful. We cease to act wisely and to do good. When we flatter ourselves, we set ourselves up for failure. We begin to walk in a way that is not good, we begin to function as the sinner in Psalm 1. This flattery of self leads us to not reject evil. When I harbor sin in my own life, when I ignore it, I will end up not rejecting evil. I cannot hate evil the way God would have me to if I am not hating the sin in my own life.
The path of sin is a slippery slope that leads to destruction. It seems to be a small thing to minimize a sin that is seen by others as “acceptable.” Yet, when I ignore my own sin, I am opening the door to accepting more sin into my life. I will lack discernment and begin to tolerate other forms of evil.
We can have victory over our sin through Christ. Jesus has overcome the world; He defeated sin and death. We need to recognize our sin for what it is and hate it. We can live a life pleasing to Him because of what He has done for us.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20