Why must I love everyone if God "hates" Esau?
If you were to spend some time on these passages in Malachi and Romans, you would see that the Bible does not say that God “hated” the actual person of Esau, but rather the nation of Edom, descendants of Esau, and to a broader sense, any nation other than Jacob, also known as Israel. Furthermore, the word “hate” is a relative term when used in comparison and contrast of the word “love.”
Jesus did a similar thing when he said the following (see Luke 14:26-27, and Matt. 10:37-38):
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
He also says something similar in John 12:25, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Is Jesus contradicting Himself and telling us to hate our father, mother siblings, spouses, children and even ourselves? Of course not, except by way of comparison and contrast, that our love for God should be so much greater.
So what about Esau? In both Romans and in Malachi, the Bible is not speaking about individuals but rather about the nation of Israel and the nation of Edom (and any nation other than His chosen people).
Furthermore, God does not hate even a nation of people but in relative comparison of God’s love for the people of Israel (Jacob’s redeemed name) and also for His people who are chosen in Christ, that is, the Christian believers.
God’s plan from the beginning was that His chosen and elect people (nation) would be a source of blessings for all the nations of the world. This can be seen in Gen. 18:18 “since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” that is, the nations will be blessed by the nation which God loves.
That plan was repeated again in Gen. 26:4, “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”
God loves Israel and He loves all those who are in Christ; that is, the Church. We, as His beloved, are to be a blessing to others. We are chosen or elected because we are in Christ. It is as though that God has a ship called Jesus Christ and everyone in the ship are “loved” and all of those who are not in the ship Jesus Christ are “hated” by comparison because they are not in the vessel of Jesus Christ.
But (and this is the most compassionate part) this chosen vessel of Jesus Christ is sailing the seven seas of the world, calling “whosoever will” (Rev. 22:17) to get into the ship. Once they come on board, they too are loved and blessed by God and chosen to be blessing to others.
This is the ultimate good news.