Why? Because the heart of man is exceedingly hateful. To not love another is hate. And, if I can insist on it, the true tragedy of hatred is not the victimization, marginalization, or oppression of another. The ultimate tragedy, the ultimate outrage of hate is that hatred is sin. This is serious! If you hate your neighbor you’re in danger of the fires of hell. And it’s become clear to me that I don’t hate hatred near enough.
Watching the news and hearing conversations over the last several weeks has been very hard. The media circus and endless commentaries surrounding Michael Brown and Eric Garner should cause Christians to pause. There’s been so much vitriolic hatred. I must admit, I feel a deep sympathy with the Psalmist, “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” Jesus is serious about loving your neighbor. In fact, the only thing more important than loving your neighbor is loving the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. But second to that, and like that, is loving your neighbor as yourself.
That’s radical command. Why? Because the heart of man is exceedingly hateful. To not love another is hate. And, if I can insist on it, the true tragedy of hatred is not the victimization, marginalization, or oppression of another. The ultimate tragedy, the ultimate outrage of hate is that hatred is sin. This is serious! If you hate your neighbor you’re in danger of the fires of hell. And it’s become clear to me that I don’t hate hatred near enough.
Now, I want to be clear. Hatred isn’t a respecter of persons. I think it was Elie Wiesel who once said hatred brought embarrassment to the human condition. Hatred isn’t particular to one group of people whatever their race, gender, orientation, or social status. Rather, it’s a universal sin that resides in the heart of every single person. Let’s think about that before throwing the first stone. And this is why this hate-filled world needs to be rebuked. Yes! As those who have been reconciled to God through the death of Jesus Christ, Christians need to lead in love. And I believe if we practice a biblical love, we will turn the world upside down. But if we can win the hearing of people let us not be ashamed or hesitate in reproving the hatred of the human race. Let’s witness against the hatred that–:
…draws racial divides and judges people based on their skin color.
…has aborted nearly 60 million little boys and girls.
…objectifies women and men in the pornography industry.
…is the root cause of broken marriages and ruined friendships.
…provokes with words of hurt.
…doesn’t submit to lawful authorities.
…ruins the reputation and name of another.
…guns down people on the street corner.
…raises one nation against another for political agendas.
…seeks revenge when wronged.
…bitterly complains about and against others.
…steals from some while giving to others.
…refuses a cup of cold water to those who are in need.
…bears ill will towards others.
…sells young women into sexual slavery.
…slanders the character of people with different opinions.
…turns children against parents.
…exploits children for sexual pleasure.
…holds a grudge and withholds forgiveness.
…straps dynamite to the chest and blows people up in the name of religion.
…oppresses the widow and orphan.
…draws the knife and slits the throat of the contract worker overseas.
…wages war on different social classes.
…denies the inherent dignity of all people.
…fails to protect and defend the innocent, and on and on the list could go.
But above all we must witness against the hatred that betrayed Jesus into the hands of sinners, the hatred that nailed him to a tree, the hatred that the hate-filled children of Adam’s fallen race have for him, and in so doing, let us bring them to the foot of the cross and to dying love. For only there can the power of hatred be broken by the power of gospel love. “What wondrous love is this, O my soul! O my soul! What wondrous love is this!”
Kyle Borg is a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) and serves as pastor of Winchester Reformed Presbyterian Church in Winchester, Kan.This article appeared on the church blog and is used with permission.