Some may have been tempted to skip this post by because of the title. Others may have become slightly infuriated by the title. Others may think it is politically incorrect. If you read Goldingay’s summary that I posted on Sunday, I think you’ll know why I posted this: because that is what the psalmist prays.
Actual repudiation of those who oppose God’s ways is a typical disposition of the psalmist. We need to read his words:
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
therefore I love your statutes.
I’m not sure I can say of myself that I hate those who stray from Torah teachings specifically the way this psalmist thinks, but I do know at times that I am angered deeply by what I consider the moral failings of others. And I’m not afraid to say that I think at times that I know those who are repudiated by God. (I’m not thinking of tyrants here.) What I also know is that I’m not all that convinced such assignments in my mind and heart are revealed in this world.
What I think we need to learn here is that thinking like this is not wrong; apathy about moral indiscretions and moral insensitivities and moral apathies is what is wrong. We ought to be concerned if we see sins in others and not care.
We need, however, to be careful about dwelling in such assignments. We need to be careful that our goal is not to feel triumphant; that we do not feel superior; that we do not feel “we are the only faithful left”; that we do not follow our assignments with some humility — there but for the grace of God go I — and some compassion — what could I have done? what can I do now? what will I learn?
We are nurtured to avoid sentiments like these in the psalms; there are some good reasons for not being judgmental. There are no good reasons for being apathetic about moral laxity — in ourselves and in others.
God rejects — isn’t that clear in the Bible? — those who spurn his will. Those who stray from the path, those who lie and those who deceive and those who are wicked.
It is right, the psalmist chimes in, to to love God’s decrees.