To say that we are taught to hate and that it is more natural for us to love than hate is not only inaccurate, but it makes the cross of no effect. Without the cross, without the work of our Savior to not only forgive but to make holy, we cannot love as God commands us. This does not minimize the importance of teaching love to everyone in all stages of life. God uses these lessons as He draws us to Himself.
Is hate really a learned response or attitude or is a part of our nature? The humanistic worldview would tell us it is a learned response. But that is because humanism rejects God.
As Christians we base our worldview on the Bible. When we find ourselves in disagreement with the Bible, it means one of the two must be wrong – us or the Bible. The Bible is not wrong, so that leaves just us (I’ll write another article examining that concept deeper in the future).
The Bible teaches us that we are born in sin (be careful not to take this as conceiving a child is a sinful act). In Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. In Romans 5:12 Paul tells us, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The Bible teaches us that every human being is inherently sinful and separated from God. This is often discussed in the terms of original sin, total depravity or inherent depravity. Sin is not just defined as our actions, or even just our thoughts. It is our nature. Paul devotes much of the book of Romans to instructing on this topic, especially the first three chapters.
We like to think of children as being ‘innocent’ when they are born and in many ways they are, based on what we think of as innocent. But, again, our worldview does not limit itself to our opinion, but must be formed by the Word of God.
Augustine, one of the most influential philosophers and theologians in history says in his book, ‘Confessions‘ “no one is free from sin in your sight, not even an infant whose span of earthly life is but a single day”. Paul says in Romans 3:10, “None is righteous, no, not one”. That statement does not leave room for exceptions, including children.
Common sense and experience tell us that we cannot attribute what we see as hate or greed or envy, etc in adults to children. But the nature of a child, just like that of an adult is corrupt by the nature of sin.
Hate, like greed, envy, covetousness and other attitudes are manifestations of sin. They are demonstrated in varying levels and different ways in different people. Similarly, God’s prevenient grace provides us an ability to love, care and be kind in some levels and ways. But even these positive attitudes are corrupted by our sin nature. As we go through life the things we experience and the things we learn, especially the things we choose to accept, form how these attitudes manifest themselves in our lives. Our nature develops as we grow and is shaped by our experiences and lessons.
As Paul tells us in Galatians 5, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These things are fruits of the Holy Spirit – in the life of the follower of Christ. It is important for us to understand the truth of being born again, as Jesus tells Nicodemus in John, chapter 3. We are born again with a new nature. We “put on the new and put off the old”. Then as we walk in the Spirit we gain new experiences and and lessons that shape our new nature. We are then recognized by our love for one another – “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
To say that we are taught to hate and that it is more natural for us to love than hate is not only inaccurate, but it makes the cross of no effect. Without the cross, without the work of our Savior to not only forgive but to make holy, we cannot love as God commands us. This does not minimize the importance of teaching love to all people at all stages of life. God uses these lessons as He draws us to Himself.