The Tragedy of Hate

The church is supposed to represent Jesus here on earth, and it does a very good job of that, but ,being made of humans, it is not perfect. One of the most painful scars that affects the church is hate. At all times hate is wrong. It affects everyone, the hated, and the hater.

1 John 2:9 — Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.

I have had multiple people tell me how they have been hurt by someone hating them, and we have all heard the stories about people leaving the church because they were hurt, or shunned. This has to stop. We are the body of Christ, hate isn’t in our DNA. We are supposed to love all people. Anyone can love some and hate others. Jesus puts it this way:

Matthew 5:43-48 — You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Here’s what I’m trying to say: Love everyone. Don’t hate anybody. I don’t care who they are, or what they’ve done. This is easier said than done. Could you love a murderer? Your called to. Politics have been crazy recently. Love all the politicians. Love the atheists. Love the LGBTQ people. Love the crazy conspiracy theorists. Stop hating.

Proverbs 10:12 — Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

This New Generation.

Matthew 11:16a — To what shall I compare this generation?

I took a personality test today. It was kind of a cool experience because the results really were what I wanted to be (INFJ). It asked a bunch of questions about what I am like, and what I do, but there was one question that made me think. The test asked “Do you think that everyone’s views should be respected whether they are supported by facts or not?” The test was asking about respecting another person’s views, which we should do. It would be rude to go out onto the street, and find some helpless atheist and then start yelling to everyone “His views are wrong! He’s an idiot!” We are supposed to respect one another, even if we disagree. Disrespect, and disagreement are very different.

To disrespect someone is to not show them any love at all, and in fact show the opposite. To disagree is to think that someone is wrong. When we disrespect someone we hurt them, but when we disagree with someone we either respect them and leave it at that, or we try and have a rational argument with someone in order to build them up.

Okay, I’ve got that part done. At this point you may be thinking: I get the difference now, so what? The “so what” is the fact that the new generation (the teens) in America doesn’t seem to get that. For over 150 years the US has been striving toward a goal of complete human equality, meaning that all humans get the same amount of respect. We are closer than ever to completing this goal, but I think that we have taken this idea too far. We have gone beyond respecting and tolerating our differences, and started to ignore them.

This has been worse in certain areas of equality than others. There is immense value in our differences, they are what make us strong. We should be able to use some of our differences to build each other up. The biggest part way in which I have seen tolerance turn to ignorance is in religion. Many teens that I know don’t seem to respond when I talk about the gospel. They say something along the lines of “that’s cool.” This is the problem: we have stopped discussing our beliefs in order to find out who is right and, in the name of tolerance, started to completely disregard each other’s views.

What should we do about this? How do you argue with somebody who isn’t listening? You can’t. This is where some major verses can come into play. 1 John 3:18 says “let us not love with words  or tongue” (eg reasoning, and traditional evangelism) “but with actions and in truth.” John is saying that sometimes words, and speech aren’t enough to get through to a person, we have to love them. When we love people we show them God because “God is love.”

What else can we do? If people aren’t listening to our words then the only other thing that can show them the truth is God moving. This is where healings, and powerful encounters with God come into play. We can show others who God is in even more direct ways than love. We can pray over them.

Spreading The Good News: Where To Start

1 Corinthians 13:13 — Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Often I feel very overwhelmed by the task of telling someone about Jesus. Jesus is so huge ad so important that I wonder, where should I start? The bible, as it often does, has the answer: start with love. Love is the single most important part of the Christian faith. without God’s love there would be no salvation, no blessings, no miracles, no need for praise and worship. As John put it “God is love.” Paul, and John say multiple times that we should be known for our love (see 1 John 3:17-18, Romans 12:9, 1 John 4:8, etc.). Paul even goes so far as to say that without love a Christian is nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 — If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

So we should start ministering to people with love, but what does that love look like. In this case there are two kinds of love: Gods love and our love. We should show people our love for others, and ourselves, but this love should stem from God’s love for us. While this shows God’s love a little bit we can do more. We can tell people about God’s love. Now realize that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are literally saying “God loves you!” all of the time. It might, but it doesn’t have to. God may tell you something special about that person and about how God loves that, or you may be able to demonstrate God’s love, or you may find certain things to say about God’s love.

Romans 5:8 — But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Much of Jesus’ ministry was about love. Why did He heal people if He didn’t love them? Jesus took the time to talk to Nicodemus at night, he talked to the samaritan woman at the well, and he called ordinary men, and gave them a higher purpose. Jesus was all about love, and he should be because God is love.

Song of Songs 2:8 — Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.