The following are excerpts from http://www.mercifultruth.com.
God Loves His Enemies
* Isaiah 55:8-9 - For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
* Have you paused to consider that when you read about God's "hatred" of sinners, and you attribute your personal, human emotional psychology to God's words, you are lowering God to your level? You are making your thoughts God's thoughts, and your ways, His ways. You are attributing your feelings, which proceed from your human heart - which the Bible says is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer 17:9) - to a God who is not flesh, but Spirit.
* God is nothing like you and me. His ways are not your ways, but are higher than your ways. His thoughts are not like your thoughts, but are higher. Even his so-called "hate" is "love" compared to your weak human emotional hatred you show your enemies. Do you see how easy it is for God to melt the human heart with His "hatred?"
Hyperbolic Biblical Language
James Patrick Holding of the orthodox Christian website Tektonics.org writes in his essay: Exclusive and Hyperbolic Language in the Bible ...:
* "As a further demonstration, let us now consider an ancient example from outside the Bible. First, here is a cite from the Scriptures that is sometimes regarded by critics as problematic:
* 1 Samuel 15:8 - And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
* Critics find it odd that a people here recorded as being "utterly destroyed" come back making trouble just a few chapters later in 1 Samuel. But compare this to an inscription offered by the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses III [taken from Moshe and Trude Dothan, Peoples of the Sea, 27]:
* I slew the Denyon in their islands, while the Tjekker and Philistines were made ashes. The Sherden and the Washesh of the sea were made non-existent, captured all together and brought on captivity to Egypt like the sands of the shore.
* Clearly when Ramsses tells us his enemies were "made non-existent," he was not meaning this literally, since he goes on to indicate that they were captured. In ancient context, then, such claims as 1 Samuel 15:8 makes are not to be taken literally either. They are no more absolute statements than those of football fans who celebrate a team's win by shouting, "We're #1!" -- even if the team has lost more games than it has won!
* And in fact, such rhetorical emphasis typifies ancient and even modern Semitic cultures. G. B. Caird, in The Language and Imagery of the Bible, notes the frequent use of hyperbole among Semitic peoples, and notes that "its frequent use arises out of a habitual cast of mind" which tends to view matters in extremes, or as we would say, "black and white." The Semitic mindset is dogmatic, and despises doubt; things are either one way or another, and there is no room for introspection.
* Genesis 29:30-1 - And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
* Here, "hated" is clearly used synonymously with one who is loved less. Let it be added that if Jacob hated Leah in a literal way, it is hardly believable that he would consent to take her as his wife at all! (See also Judges 14:16 and Deut. 21:15-17.)
* Another example cited by critics is Luke 14:26, in which Jesus says we must "hate" others for the sake of the Gospel. Critics want to read this as literal hate; we reply by identifying such sayings as containing a rhetorical emphasis, not referring to literal hate.
* Bottom line -- skeptics who think that Jesus is preaching literal and misogynist hate in this verse are doing no more than the usual -- thinking out of time, out of mind with the text, and in some cases ... letting their own "hate" get in the way of reading the text any way other than with wooden literalism.
* These words are written by a theologian who believes God will eventually send all non-Christians to infinite torment, that Jesus will stand by while his creation endures unrelenting suffering "forever." But, he refers to an insistence of interpreting "hate" literally in the Bible to being "wooden literalism." Nevertheless, he makes a good point about the use of hyperbole in ancient cultures.
* Rom 9:13 - As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
* This is not even a scripture about God hating a sinner. According to the Bible, God had made a decision about Esau, and Jacob without them "having done any good or evil."
* Jacob stole Esau's rights and blessing. Then he ran far away, because Esau, in his human way, was angry with Jacob and swore to kill him. Time passed. One day though, the Lord said to Jacob: "Jacob, go back to your relatives in the land of your ancestors, and I will bless you." (Gen 31:3)
* Esau, having been tipped off, amassed troops and waited to strike and kill Jacob
* Gen 33:1-12 - Later that day Jacob met Esau coming with his four hundred men. So Jacob had his children walk with their mothers. The two servant women, Zilpah and Bilhah, together with their children went first, followed by Leah and her children, then by Rachel and Joseph. Jacob himself walked in front of them all, bowing to the ground seven times as he came near his brother. But Esau ran toward Jacob and hugged and kissed him. Then the two brothers started crying. When Esau noticed the women and children he asked, "Whose children are these?" Jacob answered, "These are the ones the LORD has been kind enough to give to me, your servant."
* Remember friends. God hated Esau. God HATED him. God had a passionate gut wrenching emotional revulsion for Esau. Right? In fact, God hated Esau so much, He sent Jacob back to him, promising Jacob a blessing. And what a blessing Jacob received: HE BOWED TO ESAU SEVEN TIMES AND WAS REUNITED WITH HIM. That's quite an interesting hatred God has.
God’s “Hate” Is Correctional
* Rom 3:23 - ALL HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God; Isa 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
* That means you. That means me. That means "every one." That means, according to the Bible, God hates ALL, because ALL have been "workers of iniquity." Are you with me so far?
* 2 Corinthians 5:14 - For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.
* Would God send his Son to die for people he hates, or people he loves?
* Regarding God's hate to Esau, Vincent's Word Studies has this to say:
* The expression (hatred) is intentionally strong as an expression of moral antipathy. Compare Mat 6:24; Luk 14:26. No idea of malice is implied of course.
* The Barnes Commentary on the Bible has this to say:
* "Have I hated" - This does not mean any positive hatred; but that he had preferred Jacob, and had withheld from Esau those privileges and blessings which he had conferred on the posterity of Jacob.
* So "love" and "hate" are not only linguistic exagerrations, common for Hebrews of the time, but are an expression of preference which do not necessarily imply a visceral emotional reaction. So God chose/loved Jacob, and God hated/did-not-choose Esau.
* Jesus says: "Unless you hate your mother and father, you cannot be my disciple."
* He means: "Unless you place me first above all others, you cannot be my disciple"
* Do you ever wonder why God changes people's names? The apostle Paul was first a Pharisee, known as Saul of Tarsus. In his writings, Paul claimed that he was a murderer, a "chief sinner" and lest you forget, God hates ALL who work iniquity, right?
* God's expression of hate for the sinner is that he does not favor the sinner to REMAIN in sin, and thereby destroys the sinner by creating a new person through the Spirit. The old man being freed from iniquity, removes the wall of partition between man and God, leaving a new man. In other words, God hated the "chief sinner" Saul so much that he put his Holy Spirit into Saul and named him Paul. God utterly consumed and destroyed Saul. He ground Saul into powder. The Lion of Judah crushed Saul under his claw. Then, Paul emerged and was born. God loved Paul.
* God sending his Son to redeem us and save us from sin is the ultimate act of hatred against sinners. It is the ultimate rejection of sinners. God hated Saul. God loved Paul. God rejects sinners by healing them of sin. God's hate is so much higher than whatever evil proceeds from the heart of mankind.
* 1 Co 1:25 - The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
* I'll leave you with the perceptive words of Abraham Lincoln: "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make friends of them?"