What Does the Bible Say About Hate?


Hate is a powerful emotion that can cause tremendous harm to ourselves and others. Whether it’s hatred towards a specific person, group, or idea, it can lead to destructive thoughts and actions that are often irreparable. As Christians, it’s important to understand what the Bible says about hate and how to combat it in our daily lives.

The Bible is filled with stories of hate and its destructive consequences, from Cain and Abel to the Pharisees’ hatred of Jesus. The Bible’s definition of hate is clear: it is an intense emotion of dislike or animosity towards someone or something. However, the Bible also teaches us that there is a difference between righteous anger and hate, and that the latter must be avoided at all costs.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what the Bible says about hate and how we can apply its teachings to our lives. We’ll examine the examples of hate in the Bible, the consequences of hate, and the Bible’s response to hate. We’ll also discuss practical ways to combat hate in our own hearts and in our communities. By understanding what the Bible says about hate and how to combat it, we can live out our faith in a way that promotes love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

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hate in the Bible

The Bible’s Definition of Hate

According to the Bible, hate is an intense emotion of dislike or animosity towards someone or something. Jesus warns against hate in Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Righteous anger is not the same as hate. Anger can be a natural and appropriate response to injustice, but it must be tempered with love and a desire for reconciliation. Hate, on the other hand, is an intense emotion that seeks to harm and destroy.

Examples of Hate in the Bible

The Bible contains many examples of hate and its destructive consequences. Here are a few examples:

Cain and Abel

In Genesis 4, Cain becomes jealous of Abel and kills him out of hate. Cain’s hatred and jealousy towards Abel caused him to commit the first murder in human history. Cain’s actions not only harmed his brother but also separated him from God.

The Story of Joseph and His Brothers

In Genesis 37-50, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery out of hate and jealousy. Joseph’s coat of many colors and his dreams of becoming a ruler made his brothers envious. Rather than celebrating Joseph’s success, they plotted to kill him. Though they ultimately decided to sell him into slavery, their hatred towards him caused years of pain and suffering for Joseph and his family.

The Pharisees and Jesus

The Pharisees hated Jesus because he challenged their authority and exposed their hypocrisy. This hatred ultimately led to his crucifixion. The Pharisees’ hatred of Jesus blinded them to the truth and caused them to miss out on the opportunity to follow the Son of God.

These examples show how hate can lead to destruction and separation from God.

Consequences of Hate

Hate has serious consequences, both for the individual and for society as a whole. Here are a few examples:

Separation from God

The Bible teaches that hate separates us from God. 1 John 4:20-21 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” When we hate someone, we’re not only harming that person but also damaging our relationship with God.

Negative Effects on Mental Health

Hate can lead to bitterness, resentment, and depression. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.” When we hold onto hate, it can eat away at us from the inside out, causing us to become emotionally and physically sick.

The Harm That Hate Causes in Communities

Hate can lead to violence, discrimination, and injustice. James 2:8-9 says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” Hate can lead to a breakdown in community and relationships, creating division and strife.

The Bible’s Response to Hate

The Bible’s response to hate is clear: love. Jesus commands us to love one another as he has loved us (John 15:12). This love is not just a feeling but an action. We are called to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and forgive those who wrong us.

Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against hate. In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. Jesus responds, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” This means that we should always be ready to forgive, even if it means forgiving someone multiple times.

Another response to hate is to overcome it with good. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This means that instead of retaliating against those who hate us, we should respond with kindness, generosity, and love.

How to Apply Biblical Teachings to Combat Hate

As Christians, it’s our responsibility to combat hate in all its forms. Here are a few practical ways to apply biblical teachings to combat hate:

Examine Our Own Hearts for Hate

We must be willing to confront the hate in our own hearts before we can combat it in others. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” We need to be willing to acknowledge the hate in our own hearts and ask God to help us overcome it.

Learn to Love Our Enemies

Jesus commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). This can be a difficult command, but it’s essential if we want to combat hate. We can start by praying for our enemies and asking God to help us see them through his eyes.

Build Bridges with Those Who Are Different from Us

We can combat hate by building relationships with people who are different from us. This means getting to know people from different races, cultures, and backgrounds. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” By building relationships with people who are different from us, we can gain a better understanding of their perspectives and experiences.


In conclusion, the Bible teaches us that hate is a destructive force that can harm both individuals and communities. It separates us from God and damages our relationships with others. As Christians, it’s our responsibility to combat hate in all its forms by promoting love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

By examining the Bible’s definition of hate and its examples, we can better understand the severity of this emotion and how it can lead to destruction. The Bible’s response to hate is clear: we are commanded to love one another, forgive those who wrong us, and overcome hate with good. Through prayer, self-reflection, and building relationships with those who are different from us, we can work to combat hate in our own hearts and in our communities.

Ultimately, we are called to be a shining light in a world that desperately needs it. By living out the Bible’s teachings on hate, we can promote peace, justice, and equality and build a better world for ourselves and future generations. May we continue to seek God’s guidance in loving others, and may our actions reflect his love and grace to all those around us.

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