How much do you hate evil? What is evil anyway? It is a question even atheists tackle.
A few days ago I had an epiphany while reading the invitation Wisdom gives to the simple in Proverbs 8. In it she says “To fear the Lord is to hate evil”. One of the oft repeated verses about Wisdom in Scripture is that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. Stringing these two concepts together gives us: “To hate evil is the beginning of wisdom”.
How much do I hate evil? That is the degree of wisdom I have. In the degree that I don’t hate evil, I am unwise, foolish, an idiot, [supply your own adjectives please].
Many lists of sins have been made by people through the ages. For instance, the Catholic Church codified the list of seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride), which the pope recently added to. But, there are others. For instance, Jesus listed “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” in Mark 7:21-22.
The apostle Paul has several lists, for instance, “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies” in Galatians 5:19-21.
Shouldn’t we all hate those things? In the degree that we do, we’ll cultivate wisdom and virtue.
Image by Aaron Escobar, used with a Creative Commons license.