Friday, October 6, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Hate

Allowable Hate
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” 
–Psalm 97:10 ESV

One of the most declarative statements in the Bible is this phrase in Psalm 97:10.

There are two broad categories of evil. They are natural and moral. Natural evil is like the horror of a tornado, the destruction of floods and fires, or the unpredictability of the circle of life. Moral evil is the carnage of human depravity. Car jackings, murders, abuses of all kinds typify moral evil. 

Evil is to good what darkness is to light. One is devoid of and opposed to the other. Where light shines, darkness dissipates. The presence of godly good dissolves evil.

A few years ago, I worked as the Navy Chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). My job was to facilitate dignified funerals for sailors who were being buried at ANC. One day, having completed a ceremony and returning to the Administration building to meet another family, I was distracted by evil. A man and a woman were arguing, loudly. He punched her, hard, in the face. I saw her stumble backward. I was aghast, but I had another family to attend to.

I did not want to get involved because it could become protracted or potentially more violent. Yet, as the man moved toward the woman to assault her again, my feet and legs propelled me to intervene. Upon arrival, my stern presence forced the man to dissipate his anger in other ways until police arrived.

When we are reflexively repelled by evil, that is a good sign that the love of God resides in your soul. This declaration of the Psalmist is a clear test of personal devotion, commitment, focus and mission. Love God and hate evil! Evil is easily described, but how do you quantify loving God?

This verse is a simple and definitive test. The love of God that resides in you will serve as a siren of warning. It can be like a spiritual thermometer and thermostat that signals a need to raise or lower your spiritual discipline and discernment. This verse can be like a spiritual light switch that shines clarity into our own motivations.

It is a mandate that requires a person to start their day with a fierce internal audit. Do you love God? How can you know? Test your affinity to evil. How do you align yourself with evil? Do you embrace it, flirt with it or flee from it?

Loving God, fundamentally, is to live in a state of awareness and alignment with the revealed will of God. As the alignment matures within us, it becomes affinity. The affinity leads to expectation. In time, preference, relationship, and identity are formed. The ultimate goal is congruence. We fit His will and He shapes our souls.

As we reflexively eschew, abstain from, avoid, swear off and renounce the evils that we know and can identify, we become more like our redeemer. But remember, hate the evil not the person. Compassion toward the victims of evil is commanded. If you have been victimized, seek and expect justice, but leave the vengeance to God.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, may today hold for us some metrics to test our resolve to resist any evil that surfaces in our sphere of influence. Bless us to shine when evil darkens our space. Help us to stand up and speak out against immorality and depravity. Use us to help somebody who may be overwhelmed through no fault of their own. Let us be your hands, heart, legs, feet and voice to those in need. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Paul Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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