Teaching Your Kids to Hate Well

Hate seems a strange topic for a Christian parenting blog post, doesn’t it? I’ve always found it interesting that although the Bible tells us God IS love, God still has some things He hates. Since your kids are supposed to be learning how to reflect God’s image, it makes sense that God would want them to hate these things, too.

Gather your kids and ask them to name a few of their favorite foods. After they have named several, ask them to name some foods they hope you never serve them for a meal. After they name a few, ask them if it would be fair for you to say they hate those foods.

Your children’s response to that question will probably vary depending upon their age and whether or not they realize this is a family devotional. Since the topic is food, you can grant a little leeway on that particular answer. Then ask them if they think it is acceptable to hate a person or say to someone “I hate you!” when they are angry.

Hopefully, they will realize that hating people is not something God wants us to do. Now ask your kids if they have ever heard anyone say, “God is love.” Regardless of their answer, have them explain what they think that means.

After they have given a few responses, ask them,”Since God is love, can God hate something?” (not someone). Read Proverbs 6:16-19 to them. Help them list and then discuss the things these verses tell us God hates…

  • Haughty eyes
  • Lying tongue
  • Hands that shed innocent blood
  • Heart that devises wicked schemes
  • Feet that are quick to rush into evil
  • False witness who pours out lies
  • Stirring up dissension among brothers

As part of your discussion, help them think of real world examples of these behaviors today. Point out that it is actually the behaviors God hates. He still wants everyone, even people who do these things, to repent and become Christians. God loves everyone and hopes they will choose to worship and obey Him so they can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Ask your kids if they have ever done these things or encouraged others to do them? Do they say something when others encourage them to behave in these ways? How can they reflect God accurately in their hatred of these behaviors?

The depth of the discussion you have will depend upon the age and maturity of your kids. These behaviors and underlying attitudes are so common in humans, it’s actually important to have this same discussion regularly. Are they slipping into bad patterns or are they avoiding the things God hates? Regularly revisiting these verses will help them become part of your kids’ long term memories, ready to remind them how God feels about these behaviors and attitudes when they are tempted.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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