For far, far too long, Christians, especially Evangelicals were known for what they were against. They were against abortion, homosexuality, and most anything that made them uncomfortable. Is killing unborn babies bad? Yes, it is. Is it unforgivable? Is it “the platform” for Christianity? No, on both accounts.
Following Jesus means being well known for our love, not our hate. We are to turn the critical eye toward ourselves and our own house, not toward others. This kind of “hate” needs to be replaced with love and acceptance for people, regardless of our views about their behavior. Our “hate” is the sin that needs to in focus, for it has been perpetuated in the name of Jesus and is a horrible misrepresentation of who he is.
There is another kind of “hate” that is being talked about these days. It sounds like this.
Chic-fil-A hates gays.
Republicans hate old people and poor people.
Anybody who disagrees with any of the points of proposed immigration reform or gun control legislation is a hater.
Anybody who disagrees with the views of our president is a hater.
“Hate” has become code for “disagree.” A “hater” is someone who sees things differently than me or my tribe.
There are a few genuine haters in the mix that are only worthy of a hearing because it is guaranteed by our constitution. But most people branded as “haters” in this context are simply thoughtful people who disagree. Branding them as haters is a cheap and easy attempt to marginalize them and to diminish desperately needed dialogue on very important issues in which no one “side” has all the wisdom.
It seems to me…
The owner of Chick-fil-A supports a traditional view of family, but his company does not practice discrimination. With the way it has been scrutinized, it would have the lead news story for days.
Republicans are trying to find ways to save social security and Medicare by making them sustainable. Everybody knows these programs are unsustainable in their current form, but most politicians lack the leadership and courage to tell the truth and try to resolve the issue.
Immigration reform and gun control are desperately needed and in need of very thoughtful reforms. These are complex issues that need a lot of thought before there is a change in our laws.
The president is not always right and disagreeing with him has nothing to do with racism. The race card is worn out. It’s time to deal with the issues and avoid the easy way out of the debate.
The real hate is lies with those who feel they must brand people who disagree with them as haters, attempt to create a derogatory public image of their opponents, and stifle dialogue.
Stop the hate. Start the dialogue.
Excellent. But unfortunately, the problem is more complex than that. It isn’t merely the lack of respect for opposing views, but the failure to realize that there are two competing visions, philosophies, and agendas, much of which is based on conflicting worldviews. There are also conflicting views as to the basic nature of the problem. I long ago dispensed with the naive notion that politicians are motivated solely by altruistic visions of bringing to us a Utopia. As Henry David Thoreau once observed, “If a man approaches you with the obvious intent of bestowing an unsolicited favor upon you, you should flee for your life.”
But perhaps the reason human gov’t doesn’t work is because of the basic fact of man’s depravity. As long as checks and balances are in place to restrain that depravity, then human gov’t works–and that is the purpose of human gov’t according to Romans 13:1-7. Unfortunately, we have a government which, while demanding our subservience, refuses to recognize any restraints upon itself.
David – I think most people do recognize the competing visions, though they may regard the other one with disdain. Our two party system and media will see to that.
You’re right, politics is not the answer and a political utopia is not a possibility, but we could, at least be doing better. Depravity and power is a bad, bad combination.
Bestowing unsolicited favor upon people is the very core of the reality of God and his people. While I wouldn’t be inclined to trust somebody who says, “I am from the government and I here to help,” I would not want to dismiss the motive behind all good will.