Anger and mourning are two emotions I can feel simultaneously. It’s a set of emotions I feel frequently, unfortunately. I feel angry when I am typecast as a religious hateful person and I mourn for those who have distorted the love of God into hate speech. I understand the frustrations and hurt feelings we as Christians feel when we hear that Christians are hateful bigots.
It hurts us to the core because we know Jesus the Christ was not, not what we see when we see Christians on tv, radio, and news. While His followers fail, me especially, Christ never fails us and provides us a beacon to look towards. We all need grace.
Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the oil in terms of who gets attention and whose perspective is ‘right’ in the media. It’s not fair that those who chose love, peacemaking, and unity are not given the same attention as those who preach hate. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s especially hard to love those who perpetuate and spread hate and fear in the guise of Christianity.
“You shall love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And the second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31
It’s strange for me to try to live a life that resembles Christ and His sermon on the mount, yes I fail often, and daily but I still hold out hope that my faith doesn’t look like that you see in the news. My faith doesn’t hurt others, it loves the oppressed. My faith makes me be merciful, graceful and kind in a time when others are not. I want to use my faith and my life to love others, to be a good Samaritan, to love and invite the tax collectors to my house, to love my enemies, to show love to all God’s people.
Christ came to us to be an embodiment of love. Of what true love looked like and can be like.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I look to the Bible for guidance, it is not infallible. I use my bible to understand the past, to discern, and learn and seek guidance for the situations I’m currently experiencing and in conflict with.
Yes, it hurts to hear that Christians are unloving bigots. It’s true that we continue to fall short of that command they shall know us by our love. But, I don’t want to be typecast either. I’m not perfect, trust me, I fail plenty. I make mistakes but I would hope above all else, that I represent Christ’s love in a time when hatred is spewed all over our media, social and otherwise, and in the streets.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:11-12
I mourn for those killed by unnecessary gun violence. I mourn for the treatment of Muslims and refugees in our country. I mourn for my Jewish brothers & sisters whose Sabbath was desecrated by yet another angry white man. I mourn my black brother & sister killed by a man who couldn’t get into a church. I mourn the families separated by chainlink fences and barbed wire for seeking asylum and safety.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment…We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen…Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:18-21
I mourn for the anger my Christian brothers & sisters feel will rectify whatever wrong they feel they have been dealt as our country diversifies. I mourn for my sisters (& brothers) who have been sexually assaulted and keep their secret deep within because of the fear that telling others what happened to them will result in shame, judgment, and lack of action.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…” Matthew 5:4
I mourn for all my Christian siblings who feel their anger is righteous and use hate as a means to promote an earthly agenda in the name of God.
I mourn for those hurt by the hate of these Christians. You are not alone, and you are loved.
To those who have experienced the hate that has infected our nation, I am sorry. Jesus used his time on earth to be a living example of loving the other and the outcast.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
He came for those of us who need Him the most. The cast out, the forgotten, the widow, the orphan, the alien. He loves you and He has called all of His followers to the same.
I want nothing more than to articulate the fact that the hatred we saw in the last few weeks, is not of God. It is the result of hate speech being acted upon. We must overcome hate with love.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King Jr