Good Hate

“What did Dad give you that for?” my son asked when I pulled out a bright yellow circular sander from a beautifully wrapped box.

“I asked for it!”

Bewilderment drew his brows together into one of those “looks,” his blue eyes questioned.

I used to give the look to my children, now they give it to me.

“Oh, an electric sander,” my daughter-in-law exclaimed, “I’d love that.”

Surprised, Justin looked from his bride to me and back again. Triumphant and vindicated, I grinned.

Repurposing has captured my imagination. I look around at my old stuff, and my fingers twitch. Nothing escapes the “what could I do with that?” obsession. “How could I make it look modern and new?”

The itch has been just under my skin for a long time, but it wasn’t until a dilapidated old buffet practically walked on its own into my garage did I discover the joy of an electric sander in my hand.

Alone in the cold garage, I pushed the power tool’s vibrating disk over the banged up surface of the old buffet. Impurities and dull luster stripped away into fine dust. It covered my clothes and stuck to my hair.

I turned it off, set the machine down and brushed my finger over the fine residue. Powdery gray fell to the ground.

“The fine dust of disgust,” I said aloud.

A verse had been churning circles in my brain along with the shaking of the sander.

… Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Rom. 12:9 (ESV).

Abhor….literally, have horror of… sin after all is horrible… disgusting.

As believers, we are pulled between the politics of grace and condemnation. We are judged as compassionate or labeled intolerant. Rival voices all around battle for adherents. Terms like “Christian” and “Evangelical” are messed up by society and self-defined. People train words to mean what intentions devise. We become prey to blurred lines. But when foggy people-thought trumps Scriptural God-thought, when God’s definitions are muted to meet our rationale, disgust for what God hates is stripped away. We are left with insipid gray.

I wiped the dust off my hands with a rag and stood back to look at my emerging piece of furniture.

“There is a subtle line,” I thought. “The more accustomed I become to the culture of sin, the easier it is to live compatibly with it.”

It’s like sanding furniture.

The disgust for evil is removed little by little.

Ps. 97:10 “You who love the Lord, hate evil.” (NKJV)

The contrast of intimate love for a Holy God is hatred for sin. It follows that His redeemed child will be bothered by what is contrary to His Holiness.

So, how do we know what God hates? What does God love?

God’s Word, is the authority and the voice which pulls toward righteousness and pushes from evil. It shines light on right and wrong, truth and lies. It is our line in the sand.

“…hold fast to what is good.” Rom. 12:9.

“Cling to…glue together…cement…”

And there’s the caveat. If I nurture God’s loves, that unsightly residue becomes the beauty of the Spirit’s refinement, however if I feed on the filth of godlessness, my faith slowly but surely erodes in the fine dust of life corroding without purpose.

The buffet is finished. The ugly is replaced with a fresh coat of paint. It’s out of the garage and in our dining room. Repurposed and beautiful, a good reminder of the question that must be asked.

Do I love what God loves and hate what He hates?