At least 75 people died during a Bastille Day celebration in southern France after someone drove a truck into a crowd.
What was the freaking point of that?!
My heart is heavy. People assume that pacifism means passivity. It doesn’t. The violence presses on me. The cries of the bereft ring in my ears. I want to do something. Yet I have struggled with how or if to write about the events of recent weeks. I’m a white Christian woman living in an essentially ethnically homogeneous area. Two of my uncles are on the police force in a large West Coast city. I haven’t experienced the injustice that others have.
What can I do? What can I say? What should my response be to those who kill in the name of race or religion?
I want to scream. STOP IT!
Hate doesn’t make any sense. Skin is just skin. Nobody has control over what shade God paints them. I’m a little darker than an albino and guess what? I’m not superior to anyone. I’m not #blessed because I’m pasty. Let us all collectively pull our heads out of our behinds and get over it. Additionally, other people’s choices in the way they live their lives – religion, sexuality, whatever – are theirs to make. By all means, have convictions. Disagree with ideas. But if your religion or philosophy or political bent moves you to name-call, belittle or even kill others who are not like you, then you either need to renew your understanding of said religion, philosophy or political bent or get a new one entirely.
God is not supportive of hate, so let’s not try and drag Him into this. (If you throw Romans 9:13 at me I will throw both a systematic theology textbook [not Wayne Grudem’s] and a book on basic interpretation at you). The load is all on us. God can and will release us from that load, but we’d best be owning it first. Hate is sin. It is evil.
We need to repent of it.
Kate says: create. A word loaded with meaning. There are so many ways to take this pompt. But my mind is on one track. What is my role in creating a church (both general and specific) environment where hate cannot thrive?
We started talking about all of this the other day in a Voxer group I’ve been part of for a year-and-a-half. One of the ladies told us about how her employment situation has forced her to work with someone different. Someone “other.” They’ve had conversations. Shared experiences and viewpoints. Listened to each other.
That’s the second step, after repentance. When we choose to lay down our assumptions and prejudices and actually engage with someone, we’re doing the work.
Problem is, we’re lazy. We want the beauty of peace, but we don’t want to labor for it. We want God to swoop in and *poof!* it all away. Make it bright and shiny and clean. Come on, now. Don’t we know our Bibles better than that? (I know the answer, and it is sad). When, aside from the moment of justification, does God do that before the culmination of history?
Repentance makes us right with Him so we can turn around and get right with others and then model that vertical and horizontal rightness for the rest of the world. There’ll be no human-created utopia this side of Eternity. We’d be great fools to expect that. We’d be perhaps even greater fools to think that we are given leave to sit idly by as darkness rolls on. That’s the tension we live in, knowing that our efforts will not bring about world peace but knowing we are not allowed to quit. We are people of light, children of day (1 Thessalonians 5:5). As God patiently molds us into new people (2 Corinthians 5:17), He pours into us everything that is required to obey His commands (Hebrews 13:21).
“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
– Matthew 22:36-40 (HCSB)
No days off. No “but I don’t like him!” No “but she annoys me!”
No “I hate…”