As Christian parents, we rightly spend lots of time teaching and encouraging our children to love others. Our desire is that the Holy Spirit would move so powerfully in their hearts that they would overflow with Christ’s love and compassion for people near and far. However, did you know that God also calls us to stand against evil?
Romans 12:9: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (ESV)
Obviously, this is not a command from God to abhor people, but rather to abhor evil.
Hatred is a powerful, driving force behind many horrible sins, abuse, and injustice. However, a godly, Christ-like standing against and abhorrence of evil has rightly compelled believers down through the centuries to lay down their time, money, reputations, and even their lives to oppose it.
When we abhor evil, and love people, we are propelled into action for the kingdom of God.
Have you ever talked with your teenage children about human trafficking? What was their response? I hope that two emotions welled up within them – first, compassion for those who are suffering and trapped in bondage – and second, revulsion toward this evil. It is this godly combination of standing against evil and love for people that compels us to engage and do something to help.
Let’s help our children abhor false religions and be filled with love for the people who are deceived by them.
Let’s help our children abhor abortion, and love women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies.
Let’s help our children abhor communism and other oppressive governmental structures, and seek to love those who are being crushed by them.
Let’s help our children abhor racism in all its forms, and overflow with God’s love for all people so that we never judge another person because of the color of his skin or where he was born.
Read and discuss Romans 12:9 with your children. Also, consider together Psalm 97:10, “Let those who love the Lord hate evil.” (NIV)
What might this principle look like as a part of your regular family life?
First, this can help guide you in talking with your children about suffering in the world. If your child is exposed to a situation involving racism, either in the news or in their own life, it can be helpful to ask, “How does this situation make you feel?” The child will likely respond with something like, “I don’t like it. It makes me sad. It makes me mad.” This is your opportunity to affirm those negative emotions. Your child is expressing an abhorrence for evil. You could reply, “I feel the same way. In fact, I hate seeing people being treated differently because of the color of their skin or where they were born. God hates it too.”
Then you can move to the second part of the principle, “How do you think we could show God’s love to people who may be hurting and suffering from the effects of racism? How can we make sure that we never treat people any better or any worse because of the color of their skin?” With this question you can explore ideas such as inviting a family from another culture over to your home, intentionally befriending someone at school, or sticking up for someone who is being mistreated.
God abhors evil because He loves people. He calls His children to do the same.