I read a quote the other day, “Justice without love is anger” and ironically it made me a bit angry. The quote was from a Christian who was sincerely attempting to dispense good advice or wisdom to Christians about the way they ought to think. The problem with the quote is, it is not accurate and it is not good advice nor is it wisdom.

Justice, love and anger are valid traits without qualification. If you take out the qualifier from the quote – love – then justice and anger are the same. Justice is not anger. Does justice need help in order to be an acceptable trait? Of course not, God is just, so I don’t think that needs a qualifier. Likewise anger can be a good trait since anger directed at evil is to be admired. Justice and anger do not need to apologize. These are different traits than love, but they are good things in and of themselves and need no qualifiers.

It is not just that the quote is not accurate or that it gives bad advice, but the real problem that I have with the quote is the focus there is on love at the expense of some good old fashioned hate. We are to love God, but that means that we must hate that which is opposite of God. Amos 5:8 – Hate evil, love good and establish justice in the gate. The admonition is to make sure there is love and hate – towards the correct objects “evil & good” with justice being established the expected result.

Since the Bible does admonish us to hate evil (Psalm 97:10 – Hate evil, you who love the Lord!), maybe it would be a good idea if we stopped focusing so much on love (we seem to love everything and not just good as the scripture says) and figured out what is the evil that we are supposed to hate and begin to hate it, while remembering to love only that which is good.

I believe as a culture we have become too tolerant of many different kinds of behavior, profanity, divorce, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, abortion, trans-sexuality, crime, drunkenness, business and political corruption and the list could go on – add your pet peeve, and too often the church has little to say. It seems we want to be known for what we are for and not what we are against for fear of appearing legalistic.

To be fair, I don’t think our reticence is because we do not believe that certain behaviors are wrong or that there are certain things to be opposed and I don’t think my friend who coined the phrase that drew my ire is in any way soft on sin, in fact I hold him in high esteem. I think we say things like “Justice without Love is Anger” because we do not know how to hate evil publicly and we worry about alienating people that we want to see come to the knowledge of the truth.

None-the-less to my way of thinking we soft pedal truth at our peril. We risk being reduced to cute but inaccurate sayings and losing our saltiness and impact on our culture. With the recent court rulings about same sex unions, I will be curious to see if the church “loves” the homosexual or hates the sin, because to do the latter may cost a lot more than the church might be willing to pay. In fact based on early indications we may have already ceded this ground to the secularists.