There have been so many awful happenings in the news recently. Currently, the largest one being discussed is the shooting in Orlando. I have a heavy heart as so many died and were wounded in the attack. Even worse than that, I have heard supposed church leaders in some denominations spouting off hateful messages of wishing God would take it one step farther and just wipe people out. I have seen hate spouted in this case: towards Muslims, and towards the LGBT community, and towards Christians(for spreading a hate message). Although there are other things in the news that have effected me recently, I will mainly stick to a discussion about the hate around this issue.
As far as I know, there are two kinds of hate:
1-righteous indignation: this occurs when the spirit inside of you is angered by the presence of sin.
2-fear based hate: this happens when we do not understand someone who is different than us.
A lot of people group the hate they feel towards Muslims and the LGBT community in to the first: righteous indignation. However, righteous indignation is indignant only towards the sin, not the individual. It is more accurate to group this type of hate in to the fear based group. We don’t understand why someone chooses to live in a way we do not believe is right, and we fear or hate them.
We are directed to HATE SIN, but it is important to keep in mind that we still need to LOVE THE SINNER. Although righteous zeal and righteous indignation are good things, they should never be directed at an individual, but rather at a sin or an action.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Whenever Hate is mentioned in the bible in a directive sense, it does not direct us to hate another human being. There are directives to hate injustice, to hate evil, to hate wrongdoing. There is, throughout scripture a pattern of hating EVIL hating SIN but not hating the SINNER.
You see, while we were ALL still sinners, Christ died for us. He died for us so that we could live lives free from slavery to the law, lived abounding in love and mercy: reaching out to those around us.
By no means am I suggesting that we condone sin. Sin is sin. It is missing the mark. Simply speaking it is no good. Loving the sinner has nothing to do with condoning the sin.
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
The root word for brother used here is Adelphos (ajdelfovß) and means:
- a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother
- having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman
- any fellow or man
- a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection
- an associate in employment or office
- brethren in Christ
- his brothers by blood
- all men
- Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place.
For those of you who say this is excludes those outside of the church (because, yes, it is open to interpretation) I will give you another verse:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Let us continue to stand firm against sin, but let us NEVER lose sight of love, else we err and begin to sin in our response to the world as well. We are called to be separate. We are called to judge the church, but it is Christ who judges those outside of the church. We are called to love. We are called to walk lives of passion and power that exhibit Christ for those around us to see. When we choose to act out of hatred or fear, we blind others with hate rather than attracting them with the love of our savior.