READ: Psalm 45, Jeremiah 28-30, Matthew 17, Acts 24

GLADNESS

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness.” (Psalm 45:7)

This Messianic reference reminds us that gladness is derived from both love and hate. Our view of righteousness is often linked to austere puritan killjoys; this does both the Puritans and the Lord a great disservice. True joy results from loving what is right and hating what is wicked. This is the gladness of God.

It falls awkwardly on our ears to hear that hate contributes to joy. This is because man has so misunderstood and misused hate. We have confined our understanding of hate to mean the opposite of love. But hate is not the opposite of love–apathy is. G.K. Chesterton put it this way: “The goodness of good things, like the badness of bad things, is a prodigy past speech; it is to be pictured rather than spoken. We shall have gone deeper than the deeps of heaven and grown older than the oldest angels before we feel, even in its first faint vibrations, the everlasting of the double passion with which God loves and hates the world.”

God loves and God hates, and these passions compliment each other. If God’s beautiful and perfect character can combine both love and hate toward a single end (gladness), than so can our character. When rightly balanced and directed (loving what is right, hating what is wicked), the result is anointed gladness–pure joy. To be for God includes being against what He is against. To be for God is to enter into His complementary passions, to love what He loves and to hate what He hates–this is what makes us glad. Conversely, loving sin and hating righteousness makes us sad (Jer. 30:15). There is no joy among the wicked–not the deep gladness of soul. The wicked only enjoy the parasitical and fabricated false joy that destroys them from the inside out.

If loving righteousness and hating wickedness makes both God and us glad, it is axiomatic that some things should be hated. God hates divorce, so should we. God hates injustice, so should we. God hates deceit, so should we. God hates the violent sacrificing of children, so should we. Some things should be destroyed and some books should be burned (Acts 19:19). Men and women have great difficulty in finding this enduring gladness, for we have a propensity to fall in love with hating. This warning, however, does not remove God’s invitation and example. The deepest gladness–the gladness of God–perfectly combines a love for what is right and a hate for what is wicked. These complementary passions spur each other on to the depths of joy. We should not be afraid or reluctant to pursue this great gladness of God.

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