We are more than our thoughts and more than our desires, but we are certainly not less. What fills our minds and forms our dreams tells us who we really are, what we really long for, whom we really serve. Evil thoughts and evil desires reveal a deep captivity to sin and evil. This should concern us, for God assures us he has a deep loathing for evil thoughts. He has a deep loathing for those who think evil thoughts. We have already seen that God hates idolatry, sexual immorality, injustice, hypocrisy, deceit, and pride. Today we will look at God’s hatred for evil thoughts.
God Hates Evil Thoughts
In humanity’s earliest days, God “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). The heart is the spiritual nerve-center, the seat of desire and reason, the source of action. As sinful human beings, we love to empty our hearts of what is good and fill our hearts with what is evil. God’s judgment fell on humanity because their evil hearts were filled with evil desires and evil intentions which soon became evil actions. It is not surprising, then, to learn that God hates “a heart that devises wicked plans” (Proverbs 6:18).
There is a close connection between the heart and the mind, so we expect to find that “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 15:26a). The thoughts of the wicked are not just fleeting temptations that pass quickly through the mind and are gone. They are plans and meditations, dreams and desires. God hates the evil plans that brew within evil minds.
In Zechariah we learn that God particularly hates evil thoughts that work themselves out in evil actions designed to harm others. “Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord” (Zechariah 8:17). Similarly, David assures us “The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence” (Psalm 11:5). Of course God’s soul reacts with fury against anyone who loves violence, for he has made humanity in his image and must act in judgment toward those who defile or destroy people.
Why God Hates Evil Thoughts
God hates evil thoughts because evil thoughts reside within evil minds to devise evil plans. God created human beings to be perfect, to have perfect hearts and perfect minds which would express perfect desires in perfect actions. This was his dream and desire for humanity.
But the first human beings allowed their minds to stray, their desires to bend. They fell, and as they fell they “became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23). They rejected the sovereignty of their Creator and soon denied his very existence. “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).
Evil thoughts are a sure sign of evil hearts. Evil hearts are a sure sign of evil people who have turned their backs on their good Creator.
God’s Judgment on Those Who Think Evil Thoughts
God’s judgment on those who think evil thoughts is swift and sure. His judgment falls immediately as he “gives them up” (Romans 1:26) to their foul behavior. Even in this life, God loosens his hand of restraint on humanity and allows them to suffer the consequences of their evil. He allows them to express their evil desires through their thoughts, words, and deeds. The evil they desire and pursue is their self-inflicted punishment, for while it promises life, it delivers only death.
But there is a more terrible future punishment to come: “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5). Those who sin against God must suffer the wrath of God. Those who deny God will find, to their eternal peril, that he exists and that he is the judge of the living and the dead.
Hope for Those Who Think Evil Thoughts
But still there is hope. There is hope even for those whose hearts are evil and rebellious. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Having discerned the will of God, we can do the will of God. It is God’s joy and delight to transform us from the inside out.
When we turn to Christ in repentance and faith, he takes away our hard hearts of stone and gives us supple hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He gives us a new heart with new desires. Now we long to acknowledge God, to worship God, to pursue God, to live for the glory of God. Now, at last, we live the lives he created us to live.
If you would like to engage in some further study, here are key verses about God’s hatred of evil thoughts.
- Evil thoughts are the natural condition of sinful humanity (Genesis 6:5)
- Sinful human beings become futile in their thinking (Romans 1:21-23)
- God hates the thoughts of the wicked (Proverbs 15:26)
- God hates evil plans against neighbors (Zechariah 8:17)
- God hates a heart that devises wicked imaginations (Proverbs 6:18)
- God hates those who love violence (Psalm 11:5)
- God loves to renew our minds so we can think good thoughts (Romans 12:2)