Tuesday Re-mix –
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott
I’m not sure I have anything truly creative to say about this…nothing new or fresh or amazingly profound. I am just growing weary (that is diplomatic talk for “sick & tired”) of “churches” who take pride in talking about all the people they hate. They hate Muslims, they hate homosexuals, they hate abortionists, they hate democrats, etc. Then, when you dare to step in a little closer, it turns out they hate Methodists, and they hate Episcopalians and they hate Catholics and they hate Presbyterians, and they hate this flavor of Baptists or that flavor of Baptists, etc. Then, if you dare to come in a little closer, it turns out they hate pretty much anyone who dares to disagree with them as well. And that would include me, because I am truly fed up with them.
I would like to round them all up and stick them all on a deserted island somewhere and just rejoice as they inevitably turn their hatred toward each other and begin killing each other off. Good riddance, I say. I just do not like them at all. In fact, sometimes I am sure that I hate them. And I’m pretty sure God does too.
Do you see what just happened? I see it often in conflict situations. I sit down to talk with a party who is obviously a “player” in the conflict and is clearly one of the ones whose behavior is contributing to the firestorm. With fire in every breath and venom dripping off the tongue, this person begins telling me about all the horrible behavior on the part of someone else–“the real culprit”. He/she speaks of that other person’s rage and selfishness and lack of anything spiritual and hopes that I will join in the hating of that person. But seeing it all from an objective place, it is obvious to me that this person has actually become the very person he/she is describing, displaying most of the exact same behavior of which he/she now complains. It is sad. It would be humorous, if not so sad.
It becomes even more preposterous when this person begins using God’s Word to condemn the behavior of the other person (much like I would use it to condemn the behavior of the “hate” churches). It is a trap we all have fallen into from time to time…holding up scripture to justify our hating of someone else. We use scripture to magnify the wrongness of their conduct. The problem, of course, with that concept is that God’s Word is never as effective as a magnifying glass as it is when used as a mirror. When we allow scripture to reflect back on us and our own heart and behavior, its real power is made manifest. That is when the transforming nature of God’s Word really shows. That is when conviction takes place. That is when we get back to Jesus’ purpose and His vehicle for reaching this lost and broken world.
Hating people will never change them. Using scripture to hate on others will never change the world. Using scripture to reflect on myself, my heart, my actions and my relationships…that is the stuff of which revolutions are made. That will change me. And it will change the world.