Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

In the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 there is the famous quote. It essentially says that there is a time for everything — a time for being born, a time for dying; a time to plant and a time to uproot, etc. In that list there were two sets that really struck me. I would like to speak to one of those today. Specifically, “(There is) A time to love and a time to hate.” What am I as a Christian to make of this call from Sacred Scripture to hate.
Well maybe, this is one of those things that Jesus clarified or changed. Jesus does this sometimes, “You have heard it said … but I say … ” However in Luke 16:13 Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve two masters. He says we will love one and hate the other. In that context He does not say anything to indicate it is wrong to hate. So, I am not so sure that Jesus changes what is stated in Ecclesiastes. So, what is up?
We can never hate anyone. Period. St. John Paul II once said that the only appropriate response to the human person is love. However, it seems to me that if we authentically love human persons there are certain behaviors we must hate. If I love you, then I should hate the ill treatment you receive at the someone else’s hand. If I love you, then I should hate attempts to harm or use you. Let me be clear, I do not hate those who seek to harm or use you, but it is utterly appropriate to hate the harm and the use.
It seems to me that we have elevated tolerance to be our ultimate virtue. Love is the real, ultimate virtue. Only love is appropriate when it comes to every human. At the same time we should never tolerate evil behavior. Tolerating evil behavior is directly opposed to our love for every human person. So, we are called to love all human persons. As a consequence of that love we are to hate sin because sin destroys humans.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at For more information concerning the events of this office, visit us at

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