I hate this! I hate that there is so much hate! I hate that self-centeredness leads to terrorizing in the name of whatever inflated image they have of themselves. I hate that people conspire to victimize others. I hate when we forget our own misgivings and fail to extend mercy to others for theirs. I hate when violence is validated in the name of justice. I hate when the response to viciousness for some is more viciousness.
It breaks my heart! Your kingdom come Lord: Here, in this world, right now…please!
“Wait,” you say “aren’t you Christian? Christians don’t hate!”
Well guess what – yes, we do! We hate evil – and the situation in Charlottesville, its preceding plans and much of the aftermath in response…pure evil. Hatred of pure evil is biblical; God hates it too! In fact, Solomon summaries this one for us in the Book of Proverbs:
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:16–19, NIV)
Consider that list for a moment…I’ll wait.
Did you conclude as I did? Every darn one of those seven things came to pass more than once in the last 96 hours!
Why does God hate this? Why should we hate this too?
This list erodes society. This list erodes us emotionally. This list erodes our ability to build relationships with each other. This list prevents us from community. This list disconnects us from God! This list defines what is an abomination, as other translations put it. The result…pure evil!
How do we stop things like what happened in Charlottesville? Um, while evil still exists in this world, we cannot. However, we can take responsibility for ourselves and follow the model of Jesus. Jesus lived a life dedicated to God the Father by demonstrating mercy, love and justice.
- Dedication: It starts with our own actions – as the title suggests, and Jesus taught us in prayer: Lord, your kingdom and will be done – right here, right now, just like heaven (Matthew 6:9-13). That means we follow the will of God.
- Mercy: We need to inspect our own misgivings too and seek forgiveness from God, and from others. Plus, (this is the big one) forgive others in the same manner that we want to be forgiven. Forgiving is hard. Forgiving stings. Forgiving those who do not deserve it is even harder. Forgiving others who have not asked for it is unimaginable. Yet, God forgives all. God forgives, just as you forgive. Jesus’ prayer also teaches us not only to be penitent, but to exonerate. It is freeing – try it!
- Love: Love others by taking the time to listen and learn. Love others by trying to see the world from someone else’s perspective. It is not as hard as it seems if you go at it with an open mind. More importantly, an open heart.
- Justice: Not justice in terms of vigilantly-ism, but speaking out against evil. Again, following the model of Jesus: First, speak out using Biblical truths when things like Charlottesville, racism, sex trafficking, etcetera occur. Second, allow the authorities to perform the role society has carved out for them…it is why they are there.
What’s that you say? “You just don’t understand!” True – I don’t! I know there are many wounds in all of this. I am sometimes reminded by people of other ethnicities that we do not understand because of our differences – and they are right. I can never understand the depth of pain experienced by someone in the African American community in the south – or the plight of a Syrian refugee now trying to exist here. It does not matter the community or the means of marginalization – I do not fully understand, but I wish I could.
But, I can take the time to listen and learn and love. We all can.
Not all is lost though. There is hope! In fact, while making my rounds downtown today – I encountered friendly faces, warm smiles, welcoming conversations, invitations for prayer.
People of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities still want community; still want peace; still want love.