Have you noticed?? Hate on social media. Hate in our families. Hate between friends. Hate in our churches. Hate broadcasted through the media. Hate appears to be everywhere these day. Not that this is a new thing, hate has always been around. In our flesh, it is very hard to deal with hate in a “christian” manner. Last night, we visited the local fair that is in town and well, needless to say, we experienced hate firsthand.
After standing in line for a ride for 20 minutes, three people to the front of the line, a preteen aged girl jumps line. The whole 20 minutes of waiting we encountered this. After watching about 15 others jumping line, Phillip then began saying nicely to the new jumpers, “hey guys, there’s a line for this ride and the end is back there.” The kids would smile and say okay and walk away. But this time, oh no, not this time. The girl’s mom steps up and instant profanity, hate, and judgment flowed out of her mouth. Her eyes and gestures spewed disgust, irritation, and a great desire to seek revenge. Shortly after, a male figure showed up and she encouraged him to physically assault my husband. She continued to try to hype him up with words like, “come on babe, show him what a real man is,” “if you jumped him that would teach him a lesson or two,” and then furthered by calling us all names with our children and her children standing there. My sister turned to her and tried to diffuse the situation, but that just made matters worse. The lady then continued by bashing my sister, calling her names, and threatening to find others to take us all out. One word…HATE.
Hate comes in many packages. Sometimes wrapped up in pretty packaging and bows with supposed friendships that are betraying you. Gossip. Rejection. Bashing people with God’s word that’s meant to bring correction in love not beating them up with condemnation. Jealousy. Lies. Deceit. Using others for your benefit. Selfishness. Breaking others down because you don’t feel good about yourself. Bullying. Unforgiveness. Anger. Physical attacks. Mentally and emotionally attacking. Revenge. Persecution. Reactions to not getting what you feel you deserve. And sometimes…it’s just learned.
Last night as I stood there and witnessed this woman’s actions. I looked at the four small children that she had with her all under the age of 3. And then the two older ones. They sat in the strollers or stood beside their mom, just gazing at her taking in all in. They were learning that it’s okay to treat people that way. Her daughters were learning that it’s okay to call and be called names that women should NEVER be called. She was teaching them that violence is an answer. They were NOT learning love in that moment, they were learning how to express their anger through hate.
Did I approve of this woman’s behavior or language? Absolutely not. It infuriated me. My son and niece were standing there. I don’t want them to know or hear that language. Profanity in NO WAY IS GODLY OR BRINGS HONOR TO HIM!!! But what I did know, that the current state of our nation and the fuel that media have given to situations and the woman’s current urging for violence, it was best to ignore and walk away and PRAY. This was not me being passive, timid, or scared. Those that know me, know those are words used to describe me. However, it was a time that I was praying for God’s wisdom, protection, and direction. And therefore, I proceeded with His leading.
Matthew 5:43-44 says,”You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Jesus tells us in Matthew, to love our enemies. This can be hard…really hard. You see, the worldview of this topic is to love those that love and hate those that hate. That’s not our God’s perspective though. He sets a higher standard to those called to His Kingdom. How do you show love to your enemy? Luke 6:28 tells us to bless those who curse you and pray for those that mistreat you. So last night, I came home and began to think about that awful incident and pray that my son and niece did not take away or remember anything from that moment. Then, God quickened my spirit with those scriptures. I needed to pray for that woman and her family. Because you know what??? That was not Jesus coming through her. Jesus does not produce hate. I forgave that woman and my heart became burdened for her. I pray that she comes to know Jesus and His love, grace, forgiveness, salvation, provision, peace, comfort, and patience. I pray that God moves mightily in her life.
People, if you are a follower of Christ then we have been called to be the light to others in this world so they can come to know HIM. And if a lot of us don’t change the way we treat others through our words and actions, then we are not being a light. We are being a dimmer. And people will only see how we are not Christ-like, but profess to be a Christian. We have to check ourselves daily! Check your attitude. Check your eye rolling. Check your language. Your actions. Is all that you do bringing honor to Him? Trust me, Phillip and I have to check ourselves often. It’s part of that crucifying ourselves daily with Christ. We have to surrender and give up those ways of the flesh to seek His will and be more like Him. And sometimes, it’s not an easy walk in the park. But that’s where God’s strength comes in. We have to ask and pray for it. And sometimes….often.
Currently, as I write this blog, our country is possibly under a cyber attack. Planes have been grounded and the Stock Market has closed due to technical glitches and it’s only 1:00 pm. We live in a very unsteady world. Any moment, the comforts and luxuries of this world can be taken. Things of this world is temporal. As His children, we need to show others there is HOPE in HIM. And while hate comes in many different packages…it should never come through a child of God.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20