Is It Right to Hate Wrong?
IT IS not only right but a moral duty to hate wrong. But how can you hate something of which you have no knowledge? Standards of right and wrong differ with almost each nation, state and religion. As a clergyman said: “What’s right in one church is wrong in another.” A bartender stated: “What’s legal in one state is against the law in another.” A young woman in Pennsylvania reflected the attitude or many when she remarked: “Who am I to say what’s right and wrong?” So how can you hate wrong when you do not know what is wrong?
When responsible citizens uphold featherbedding and thuggery on the labor front in cynical disregard of the national welfare, when there are fee splitting and kickbacks in the practice of medicine, when lawyers flout justice and instruct willing pupils how to beat the law, when ministers preach brotherhood and practice discrimination, when a grand jury refuses to indict known murderers, and high government officials use their office for personal gain, are these wrongs or rights? The common reply today is, “It all depends . . . ”
Rights and wrongs are no longer considered to be a matter of morals or right principles; they are a matter of expediency. The end is said to justify the means. Lying for business reasons is part of the game. Said one young man: “Everybody cheats. Look at the big shots. They have lawyers who do nothing but cut corners for them.” It has become fashionable to be very lenient and tolerant about wrongdoing. To become incensed or indignant over injustices is to stamp oneself as queer and old-fashioned. Everything is tolerated today, just so long as one does not get caught in criminal activity.
A Look survey, January, 1960, disclosed: “Moral indignation is out of fashion: It isn’t smart to get mad. Nor are people concerned with making moral judgments unless they are discussing clearly criminal behavior. The thing to be these days is cool, sophisticated—and tolerant of wrongdoing.”
Such a wishy-washy, compromising stand toward wrongdoing has destroyed the ability of many to discriminate between right and wrong. The Look report showed that “less than 10 percent of the people interviewed felt that honesty was a prime requisite for success.” An insurance claims adjuster told a reporter, “75 percent of the people we deal with now have no morals at all.” An advertising man declared: “In the pursuit of the dollar, anything goes.” A man of moral convictions is said to be in need of “a psychiatrist.” Look says: America has won for itself a fifth freedom—“the freedom to chisel.”
Responsible citizens admit that morality must be redefined and exemplified before people will ever come to appreciate right principles. Sin has lost its identity. “Today, evil is no longer shown as evil,” said an office worker, “but as part of the human condition.” Churchgoing has been reduced to a social ritual. And as a Mississippi editor stated: “People are just not scared of God any more.”
It is a mistake to suppose that there are satisfaction and the joy of life in wrongdoing. Wrongdoing leads to moral confusion. It defeats and frustrates lives. It brings one into conflict with God and destroys one’s chances to gain everlasting life in His righteous new world.
It is right doing that adds purpose and meaning to life, not wrongdoing. Right doing lifts one out of the complacency and indifference that are brought on by self-indulgence and raises one into an honorable position before God and man. It protects one from moral confusion and boredom. And, above all, it leads one into a harmonious relationship with the Creator, which results in happiness and life. That which tends to destroy such a happy, well-principled life deserves our hatred. To be indifferent or tolerant toward wrongs is to weaken one’s own moral fiber and the moral structure of those who witness our indifferent behavior. Indifference undermines the conscience and weakens one’s position in the face of temptation.
It is a Christian’s duty to hate wrong. The apostle Paul exhorts Christians: “Abhor what is wicked, cling to what is good.” To follow the apostle’s advice is to copy God and to model oneself after Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that God hates “lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions between brothers.” Of Jesus, the Bible says: “You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.” Jesus was not soft when it came to right principles. He denounced the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, threw out all those selling and buying in the temple and overturned the tables of the money-changers. His zeal for righteousness consumed him. That same fire for righteousness his followers must have.—Rom. 12:9; Prov. 6:16-19; Heb. 1:9.
The guidebook of right principles is God’s Word, the Bible. It specifically warns: “Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.” For his own good a Christian must hate these wrongs, because these are cancerous, destructive wrongs that destroy mental and physical health, wreck community and family life, and reduce one to a worthless, detestable vessel before God. These wrongs bring God’s name and Word into disrepute. They cast a black shadow on his clean organization. Therefore, any one of them is reason enough to cut one out of the congregation of God and deprive one of the abundant life that God has promised.—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
So hate wrong intensely for your own protection against the moral indifference that now pervades the world. Fortify your mind and heart with an intense love of righteousness, that you may add to your life this day flavor and meaning and win for yourself the life that is life indeed.