If you are asking the question, “Why does God hate me?”, then probably you are looking at your life, the circumstances you’ve found yourself in, your relationships, your financial situation, or your health and you don’t like it. People who think this way usually face traumatic events or situations that, when compared to other people around them, seem to be unfair. Since they can’t see why they have to struggle and others do not, they can only see one explanation. God must hate them.
Perhaps you’ve tried to be a good person, but no matter what happens, things still seem to go wrong. In fact, many of your efforts to do right seem to backfire and make things even worse. Once again, you conclude that God hates you and is out to make your life miserable.
Let’s examine the notion that God may hate you and see if it actually holds up.
DOES GOD HATE?
The answer to that question is yes. God explicitly states that He hates things in Proverbs 6:16-19. However, the things on that list are not people, but particular sins, such as murder and pride. God hates those things because each of them directly attacks what God loves. In Zechariah 8:17, God once again says that he hates things, specifically evil imaginations and a false promise. Again, God doesn’t say He hated people, just what people do. Other places talk about God’s hatred, but they are all directed at actions, not people.
The only place in the Bible where God says he specifically hates someone is in Romans 9:13, which says, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Romans 9:13 is a quote of Malachi 1:2-3. This specifically references the fact that God chose Jacob over Esau and chose Jacob’s descendants as His people instead of Esau’s. It is a comparison, more than intent to do Esau harm. In fact, Esau’s descendants became a mighty and a great nation for many centuries after this.
JESUS COMMANDS US TO HATE
Interestingly enough, Jesus commands us to hate our own family in Luke 14:26. But once again, this is less about thinking ill toward our family and more about choosing Jesus over them. If we can’t choose Jesus over our family, then we can’t serve Him to our full capacity, and we will struggle to keep our priorities right.
The concept of hatred in these examples is that of choosing one over another, not of thinking ill or desiring ill of someone. In other words, our love can be so great for someone that it may seem like “hate” when we always choose the one we love over someone else. In that context, I hate all women expect my wife. I choose her over every other woman. I will go to her first when she has a need. In fact, I will try to please her first and more often. I choose to give her all of me and not to some other woman. You can say then that I hate all other women — in that context.
DOES GOD REALLY HATE YOU?
No. God does not hate you. He may hate what you do. He may hate your choices. God may hate what you think about. He may hate your sin. But God does not hate you.
The problem is that you are equating comfort, peace, prosperity, and ease with God’s love. They don’t necessarily go together. God loved Job, but he also allowed Job to suffer. Yet God loved Job. Jesus loved John the Baptist and allowed his head to be cut off. God loved the Apostle Paul, but allowed Paul to be persecuted often and eventually killed. The list could go on and on.
God’s love for you is evident in how He chose you, not in how He makes your life easy. Yes, God choose you. He chose to send His Son to die on a Cross — for you! But it doesn’t stop there. Sometimes, God chooses us to represent Him in ways that invite adversity and suffering as Job discovered.
John 15:19 tells us that because Jesus chose us, the world will naturally hate us. So by being loved, that love will invite hatred from other sources. All the disciples were persecuted and most were martyred. Jesus loved them all greatly, yet they suffered greatly because of that love. Because Satan hates God, he will naturally hate those whom God loves, becoming our adversary that seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
HOW TO KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE
It is not that God hates you, but that you don’t recognize His love for you. That is the real problem. Since you equate love with lack of suffering, you won’t recognize the love of God that is active in your life. You’ll always misinterpret it.
We can’t experience God’s love because we are too upset when things don’t go our way or according to our plans. Hardship is hard, and your focus on the unfairness of your situation will blind you to God’s love.
Here are some things you can do:
- Have an actual dynamic walk with God. How is your prayer life? How is your Bible reading? If these areas are suffering, you will not be able to see life through spiritual eyes. How can you see God’s love under such circumstances?
- Change your expectations. God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not obligated to give you a life of ease. If you want to find comfort and peace in your trials, then stop blaming God for the evil in your life and start seeing the opportunities that your circumstances have afforded you. Seeing these opportunities will change your perspective.
- Learn to be thankful. You cannot experience or recognize God’s love when you are wallowing in self-pity. Thankful people are happy people. Their attitudes on life are so much different. Matthew 5:11-12 tells us to rejoice when we are persecuted. Why? Because that persecution puts us in an elite class of people and shows that our life has meaning and that we are being effective. Why would Satan worry about an ineffective Christian?
- Invest in a cause bigger than yourself. If you really want to experience God’s love, then you need to take your eyes off yourself and see the larger picture. Tools in my workshop that I like get the most use, which means they take the most abuse. However, because I like them, I also take care of them. It is a strange dichotomy. They get the most wear and tear, but they also get my attention more than a tool I don’t use. Can God use you? What are you involved in that is bigger than you?
If you do just those four things, you will find yourself experiencing the love of God in ways you never dreamed. Once that happens, you’ll never again wonder if God loves you. You’ll know that He does.