Jump Start # 1913
1 John 2:11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
It’s time we said some things about hatred. The bottom seems to be falling out of our country. Hate groups want things their way. Those that don’t agree with the hate groups seem to be hostile, angry and on the verge of hatred themselves. They hate the hate groups. Then there is the President. Some are so mad at him that they all but hate him. He didn’t speak soon enough some say. He didn’t say the right words. Mad. Mad. Mad. Anger fuels hatred. The fire rages hot within some and it spews out in acts of violence and words that offend. This hatred can spill into churches and even into sermons. Churches must recognize that there is a line that they can cross and at that moment they stop being spiritual and start becoming political. From my perspective, it sure seems that there is plenty of hate going around. Plenty of places to point fingers, but one of the best things to do is to start looking in the mirror first.
Some things to consider:
First, hatred has no place in the heart of a Christian. PERIOD. Our passage reminds us that hatred is characteristic of those who are not walking with God. In the next chapter, John says, the one who hates is a murderer. Our wonderful Savior crossed all kinds of cultural barriers. He sat with a woman in Samaria, at noon around a well where all could see. He went to the home of a tax collector. He included a tax collector among His apostles. He healed a Canaanite woman’s daughter. He sent His apostles into all the world. If we are going to be like Jesus we will be color blind to race and recognize that we all get our breath and life from God and that each one of us are made in His image.
It’s time we did three things. First, we need to stop talking about “them.” The “them” and “us” language is divisive, not Biblical and shows extreme ignorance. Stop talking about people who are different than we are as if they are aliens. We can do that with religious groups we disagree with. We can do that according to ethnic groups, nationality, race, sex, and even education. Just drop the “them” and “us” thinking. Put those thoughts in a blender and mix them all together. We are humans. God sees us as His children or those who do not follow Him.
Next, we need to stop generalizing. Lumping everyone in a group isn’t right, fair, and most times accurate. Saying, “All whites…” you’ll find exceptions. Saying, “All women,” better watch it, you’ll find some that aren’t that way. Or, “All husbands…” Nope. Not 100% true. That’s what bothers me about Facebook. You’ll find these titles, “Ten things every housewife needs.” How do they know? Did they ask every housewife? Or, “Ten things your church is lacking.” Really. It’s just someone tooting their own opinions. Be careful about generalizing. Not everything nor everyone fits nice and neatly in a category.
Next, we need to get serious about hatred among us. We are quick to blast a teenager who was caught drinking or bring in the execution squad for a person who was unfaithful, but right there in a Bible class a comment can be made that is offensive, rude and laced with hate. We let that slide. Why? Had the person said a “cuss” word we would have stopped him. Instead, he gets a few chuckles. No one confronts his ignorant outbursts. We passively allow the “them” and “us” spirit to thrive. Don’t tolerate that stuff. It’s wrong. It’s sinful. Hatred is characteristic of a dark heart. Hatred is not of God.
Second, let’s talk about race. Red and yellow, black and white—we are all made by God and made in His image. We must look at the Bible from Heaven down, the way it was delivered, and not through the color of our skin. What color was Adam? The first man. The perfect man. The sinless man. White? Asian? Black? Red? We can look at the common races in that general area today and make a guess, but it is just that, a guess. We don’t know.
Was Eve the same race as Adam? We assume so but is that assumption correct? When and where did the different races enter? Was it at Babel when God changed the languages? Was it after the flood and people spread out over the world? The Bible doesn’t tell us. It doesn’t matter. God does not hold up one race as superior to another. What God holds up is faith in Him.
The curse of Cain has been taught by white people to be dark skin. How do we know that the curse wasn’t “white” skin? Nothing in the context states that the mark on Cain would be passed on to future generations, carried on the ARK, and continued to modern times. One of my grandchildren is Korean. He has the sweetest, kindest little heart that you would ever meet. His eyes just sparkle. He is as much a part of our family as the others.
Why is it that some of us are tall? I was born with very red hair. Never liked it. It has darkened through the years. Some of us have big noses. Some have big feet. Some have little hair and others are very hairy. Why? God made us the way we are. Some are shy. Some never stop talking. Some are good at fixing things. Some have that special insight to be visionary. All of this shows us that we are all different, unique and gifted. Yet, we are all the same. We all need Jesus. We all sin. We are not saved by nations, churches or race. We are saved by our individual faith in Christ.
Much of what a person is has nothing to do with the color of their skin but their upbringing, their choices, the environment that they have surrounded themselves in. Hated is found in all colors of race. But so is, faith. These things are choices.
The issues of hatred not just in this country, but in the world, are found in people that do not know the Lord. There are places in the world that hate our American values. Terrorism isn’t against anything other than one person hating the values of another. As our verse tells us, they are in darkness and do not know where they are going. The darkness has blinded them. In this case, the darkness of hatred. They may not recognize how wrong they are to God.
In Galatians is a powerful passage that reminds us in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, slave or master. We are all one in Christ. Can you imagine. Can you imagine a Jew serving a Gentile the Lord’s Supper? Or, a master handing the plate to a slave, knowing later on the slave will hand the master his food when they got home. One. One in Christ.
Behind all this hatred is pride. Pride says I am better than you. Pride blinds. Pride is foolish. And pride is wrong. I am not better. You are not better. I do not apologize for being white. It’s the way God made me. I do not apologize for being male. It’s the way God made me. Nor do I apologize for the dumb and wrong things that people have done whether currently or in past generations. I must stand for my choices. When I have done wrong, I need to apologize for that. Hatred of someone who is different than you are is wrong. A person cannot change their race and they cannot actually change their sex. Chromosomes do not change. I can be against the sin that someone does but not hate a person. There are words that are offensive. God’s people do not say those words, even under their breath. There are things that we have no part of. If not careful, we start hating those who hate. In this, we are really no different than they are. Hatred is darkness. We need to fill our hearts with Christ. I am the Light of the World, Jesus said. That’s what needs to fill us and needs to be spread everywhere.
I don’t stand with whites. I don’t stand with males. I stand with Christ. I must drop the rocks that I have in my hands and realize that I too am with sin. I too need Jesus. The blood of Christ was for all people, even me.
I don’t know the solution, if there is one, to the heated moment we are in. Calming down is important. Mob mentality often runs without much thinking. Things are said that should never have been thought of. Things are done that are hard to take back. The only solution is Jesus. Love one another. Hatred is a choice. Hatred is learned. And, hated can be stopped. It won’t come from the White House, the court house or the school house. It must come from my heart and the choices that I make.
Love one another—God is love. God so loved the world…
Have we forgotten?