Tag: hate (page 1 of 2)

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin… Except Ours

LoveIn the name of love, we are willing to do things that we never dreamed. For instance, I love my wife so much I willingly endure temperatures in our home that are on par with the outer boundaries of hell, because she is cold…even during summer. What can I say? I really love my wife.

Built for Love

At the end of the day, we are built for love. We are designed to give and receive love. Being that God is love and He desires to have us as His beloved; it follows that we are created to receive His love and extend it to others. Thankfully, many Christians understand this calling – extending and being His love. I’m hearing more and more people affirm that we are called to love others, and this is a good thing. What concerns me is what else can be said.

Love filled Hate

A common comment from people of the church is: “I hate the sin, but I love the sinner.” My response to this is always, “No you don’t.” Please understand, I recognize the good intention in this statement, because I use to say this very thing. What I understand now is that we error in believing that hate and love can coexist. “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” is found…nowhere in the Bible. This teaching isn’t in the Bible. While the bible definitely makes the case that God hates sin, it actually says evil (Ps 97:10), it more often points to hating our own sin, rather than sin in general, because it is our sin that keeps us from Him (Isa 59:2). And when we look at Jesus’ ministry, it was not part of His teachings. What Jesus did say was “Love God and love others.”

Your Plank

Again, He did mention “the speck” (or sin – Mt 7:3-5) in your brother’s eye. However, it was not for the purpose the church typically references. When we use that scripture to call out someone else’s sin, we disregard that Jesus first said deal with the plank in our own eye. In other words, that huge board! I mean, the guy was a carpenter, so I’m sure He was pretty solid on what a plank of wood looked like. His point was, deal with the huge sin in your own life, before considering the sin in your brother’s.

Their Speck

One of the key words in this passage of scripture is brother. After dealing with your own sin, Jesus was talking about dealing with the sin of other believers, not people outside of His followers. Sadly, we use this scripture to justify naming the sin of people who do not even believe they should be following Jesus. Then we wonder why they won’t come to our church. I’ve never seen anyone come to Jesus after a Christian said, “Jesus hates your sin, but He loves you, so follow Him.”

Hate Crushing Love

Here is the truth. You cannot truly love someone when you are focused on what you hate about them, and what they’re doing wrong. If we, as The Church, truly desire to love others as we love ourselves (Mk 12:31), we need to recognize that with God, hate never precedes love. It just cannot. Love cannot have anything to do with hate – except to crush it. Love stands alone and conquers hate. Remember you are built for love. This is the way of Jesus.

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Photo Credit: A Mormon Enigma

Hurt People, Hurt People. (2015)

hurt-peopleIn Part 1 I made an obvious statement, that there are people in the world, lots of them, who are hurting. But that wasn’t the point. Stating that fact isn’t any more helpful then saying there are hungry people in the world. It’s nearly useless. So the point wasn’t to draw attention to the seemingly never ending supply of hurting people. The point was to understand that there are those among the hurting that are drowning in a pool of deep despair. Those that no matter how hard they try, just can’t seem to make it to the edge to hold on, so they can find relief, if even for a moment, from the waves of hurt crashing into them. They feel helpless and that only makes hurt worse. That was part one.

I’m not a counselor or a social worker. I’ve provided counsel at times, but I’m no professional. I haven’t done clinical work and the only understanding of psychology or counseling I have comes from a high school psych class and two master’s level pastoral counseling classes. All that equates to just enough knowledge for me to suggest that you pay a counselor if you need that kind of help. I do know that one of the more common responses to hurt is for the person to hide it away, pretend they’re fine and quietly struggle with it. Mostly this is a defense mechanism to prevent any further hurt. What I’ve also seen is that hurt people hurt people. I know that because I’ve been that and I’ve seen others in that place. I’m sure that it isn’t always intentional, but that doesn’t lessen the sting of it. That’s just the way it is. People that are hurting tend to hurt others that come close to them. Because I’m not qualified to give legitimate reasons why this might be, I’ll speculate for a moment. Maybe the saying, “misery loves company” is truer than we want to believe. Maybe some hurting people hurt others because they need or want others to feel their pain. Or, maybe some hurting people are so consumed by their hurt that they’re oblivious to how others are affected. Maybe it’s on purpose, maybe it isn’t. Since I’m not a professional, I’ll defer to the one thing I do know and believe to be true; scripture. I think hurt people, hurt people because “hatred stirs up strife. If I can postulate that, then pain stirs up misery. If anger begets anger, then hurt begets hurt.

If you’re hurting and reading this, this post isn’t for you. Keep reading, though. I want you to know what you should be looking for, but the rest of this isn’t intended for you. If you are hurting, I’ll just say this. I’m sorry you’re hurting. God doesn’t want you to hurt. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” I hope and pray that there is someone in your life that can help bring relief and can introduce you to the One that will. I suppose the entire series is written for those that aren’t currently hurting and more specifically, Christians. We’re the ones with the responsibility for proclaiming Hope to the rest of the world. I think delivering that message starts with those who are hurting.

As Christians it’s important to understand that hurt people hurt people. People that are hurting, especially if the church at large contributed to that hurt, may say or do things that appear hurtful. Mostly it isn’t personal. Even if it is, our response should be to reach beyond the “hurt begets hurt” cycle and offer a gentle response. We exist for the purpose of healing not hurting. Paul sounds it out clear when he says, “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” God helps us through our hard times so that we can help others through theirs.

Even though we’re commissioned by Jesus to love others, we can’t force it on them. We may well know that what we have in Jesus is for the hurting heart, but that doesn’t mean that the hurting person will always welcome you as their hero. It takes patience and continued gentleness. I’m not saying that YOU personally are the answer to the answer to the world’s woes, that’s Jesus, but you can be the answer to someone’s woes. If someone in your sphere of influence is hurting, be patiently gentle with them, offering your hand to help and your shoulder to cry on. And try not to be shocked or offended if it’s rejected. It probably will be initially, remember that they’re hurting, so be patient with them.

I’ll end with this, we don’t cause hurt. Using The Word to belittle or demean someone is wrong, even if you do it under the guise of “calling out sin.” I’ve written a lot on that topic, but calling out sinful behavior has to start INSIDE the church. The bible wasn’t given to push people from God. It was written to reveal Him to ALL of humanity. If not for all, then it’s useless. If hurt people hurt people, then healed people heal people. We’re healed people. Healing is as much our game as love, grace and forgiveness are.

Christians Shouldn’t be Advocates for Homosexuality

lgbt_rainbow_handsA couple weeks ago I wrote a blog titled, “Keep YOUR Gospel to Yourself.” I wrote it on the heels of a group of high school students in Pennsylvania that organized an “anti-gay day.” To be honest, my issue wasn’t that they planned such a day. I spent two decades in the military for the very purpose of protecting American’s right to say what they want, not matter how shortsighted or ignorant it sounds. My issue with their ”anti-gay day” was that they used Christianity and scripture to be hateful and violent toward other people. In that article I tried to make the point that if you use Christ and His teachings as the foundation for your hate, it isn’t Christianity and suggested that they weren’t followers of Jesus.

Last Friday I had a friend repost that article on Facebook, to which I had someone comment on it. They even went to my blog and commented there. I was stoked. I don’t get a ton of comments, so when I do, I get excited. After reading it, I wasn’t so excited. The commenter suggested that because I called a kid, that was using the cross as a symbol of hate, ignorant, I was hypocritical because I was being “judgmental and hateful” toward him. He suggested a few other things, but ended with, “I skeptically wonder if the author would also turn his hateful judgmentalism toward Christians gathering for anti-abortion? Or anti-child molesting? Or anti-drug abuse? Or anti-anything else other than homosexuality?” I won’t even start on the ignorance in that thought. I can only assume the commenter doesn’t think through things on a regular basis. You can read my response to his dribble HERE. I could have deleted it, but I’m not afraid of people disagreeing with me.

The comments and questions continued much further on the FB post. Most of what he said doesn’t even warrant repeating. But, toward the end of our back and forth he asked, “Are you not an advocate for homosexuality?” I thought about it for like 5 minutes and responded with,

“I’m an advocate for Jesus. I’m an advocate for not spewing hate at people and choosing to show Christ’s love. I’m an advocate for choosing to let the Holy Spirit deal with people’s hearts and souls. I’m an advocate for being in the world, with people and ministering to their deepest need, Jesus. On my best day, what I have to offer Jesus is filthy rags. I’m an advocate for doing life with people and pursuing Jesus in a community that cultivates love, so that others can meet Him. I’m an advocate for Christians applying the bible to their life before they try to force others to live by the standard it sets.”

That answer wasn’t good enough for him, so he insisted I answer, but I ended it because nothing I could say would be good enough, lest I quote Leviticus and call for the stoning of gays everywhere. But, it did get me thinking about whether I’m an advocate for homosexuality or not, because I’d never put a any thought into it. The short answer is, I’m not and I don’t think any Christian should be, even if you identify as a Gay Christian.

Jesus followers are people advocates.

TWEET THIS!

An advocate is someone that publicly supports a particular cause. In that case, I’m an advocate for Jesus. The cause that I want to publicly support is the one that He came for; to seek and save the lost. God’s chief cause for sending Jesus into the world was not to “condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” The real answer is, I’m a people advocate. My cause in this world revolves around Jesus’ command to love God and that’s done through loving your neighbor, other people. Jesus made no distinction about who that was. Well, actually He did. In the story of the “Good Samaritan” the injured man’s neighbor was a man he looked down on, so there’s that.

Bottom line is that if you’re a Christian, Jesus requires you to not only serve those you think are beneath you, but commands you to love them. Jesus followers are people advocates. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if they’re a different skin color, economic status, gender, religion, sexual orientation or anything else, we’re called to love others. That’s it.

I know some will read this and have issue with the fact that I said “Gay Christian” earlier and may try to use 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 as an argument for their responsibility to tell other Christians how they’re living in sin. But, before we worry about others, let’s remember that Jesus said, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” I think it’d be beneficial for most of us if we started to worry more about how we’re following Jesus, rather than how others are.

Love-CrossWhether or not I’m an advocate for homosexuality is irrelevant. That isn’t the cause that I stand on. I’m an advocate for loving God, through loving others, so that they can come to know Jesus. And for those that already know Him, I’m an advocate for loving them well, so that others will know we’re His and so that we grow in unity and deeper in our love and knowledge of Him. If you’re a Christian, you ought to advocate for the same. His agenda is people, our agenda is His, so our agenda is people.

*I‘d love to dialogue with you. But, I want to dialogue with you only if you’ve actually read what I said. If you chose to comment, please start your post with “Fish Fingers & Custard.” Thanks.

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