As we entered into a time of confession and repentance in our worship service yesterday morning, our pastor encouraged each of us to repent of the sin of silence. He said that too many of us have been silent for too long when it comes to calling out hatred around the world, in our nation, and even in our own neighborhoods.
I bowed my head and asked God to forgive me.
You see, I don’t like negativity. And I HATE hatred. I want life to be sunshine and lollipops. I want everyone to just be nice and get along.
Yes, I’ve been accused of looking at life through rose-colored glasses.
I don’t know if that’s true. I see the ugliness and it upsets me but I try hard not to live focused on it because when I do . . . it frightens me.
So, as I sat there in prayer asking God to tell me what He wanted me to say about the hatred we saw played out in Charlottesville over the weekend and throughout the country in past months, this is what I heard Him whisper.
“Do not be afraid!”
Tell people not to be afraid.
Hate is said to be the opposite of love. Did you know fear is considered an opposite for love, too? And hate and fear are closely linked.
Hate can begin with a…
- Fear of losing power.
- Fear of being disrespected.
- Fear of not being valued.
- Fear for personal safety.
- Fear of change.
- Fear of differences.
- Fear of subjugation.
- Fear for survival.
When you and I are afraid, we want someone or something to blame. Someone or something to label the source of the problem.
And that’s what I see playing out across our nation.
People are afraid and because they’re afraid they’ve replaced listening and loving with labeling and blaming.
This has to stop. We must destroy hate.
Because a house divided is guaranteed to fall.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. Luke 11:17
We will destroy ourselves if we don’t destroy the hatred.
Friends, we have to stop taking sides. Liberal or conservative. Right or left. Traditional or progressive. We have to stop taking political sides and start standing up for the truth found in and through Jesus! When we shout political rhetoric from the rooftop we are allowing ourselves to be used as pawns of evil.
This is not about politics! It’s about people!
And inside, people all want the same things.
Inside we’re way more alike than we are different. So, why do we allow fear bring out so much ugliness in us?
What’s the answer?
There is Only One Way You Can Destroy Hate
I know it’s obvious and maybe a little trite but bear with me.
Love is the only thing that will destroy hate. Not warm fuzzy feel good pie in the sky by and by love . . . but real get down and dirty help each other love.
Not love the feeling but the action. Love with hands and feet.
How do we do that?
We follow Jesus example!
1. Jesus spent time with people.
People who looked like Him and people who didn’t. Some were easy to love and some weren’t. It didn’t matter their skin color or position, their amount of wealth or their age . . . Jesus spent time with people.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 4:1–2
2. Jesus cared about people.
He did what He could . . . He fed them. Healed them. Forgave them. Taught them. Laughed and cried with them.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34
3. Jesus served people.
If there ever lived someone who could have expected people to serve Him – it would have been the King of kings and Lord of lords and yet, He gave us an example of humility. Humble service patiently lifting up those in need . . . whether it is providing a meal, lending a hand or listening ear, financially supporting those in need, caring for orphans and widows, etc.
Serving is humble love in action.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13–14
4. Jesus forgave people.
I know, it’s easy to say yeah but look at the past. Look at what they did. Remember how they acted.
I understand it’s tempting to want to make people pay for their past offenses. But friends, if God asked us to pay for our past offenses we’d all be doomed for eternity. Instead, God loved us so much…
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
But God shows His great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Romans 8:8
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 1 John 4:10–11
The truth is . . . I can’t love like Jesus and I’m guessing you can’t either but that’s NO REASON NOT TO TRY!
It’s what we’ve been called to…
But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:20–21
So, I’m not going to be silent.
I will boldly say hatred of people is sin. So is violence, lying, manipulation, selfishness, gossip, envy, etc.
Jesus defeated sin, death, and evil with His love on the cross. Ans His love is the only way you and I can defeat the sin of hatred and all the ways it shows itself in our lives.
By His grace and with His help, we can do better at this loving thing especially when we remember it is the only thing able to destroy hate and defeat fear.
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