Thursday, April 9, 2015

When Christians Hate

If there is one thing that saddens me more than any other these days it is observing Christian hate. As I watch the flow of social media, I am depressed when I see Christians at the least insulting and at the worst slandering people they don't agree with. Before you read any further, let me clarify a couple things. I am not saying you can't make judgments about someone's policies or actions. Jesus said we know people by their fruit and we do. I am also not saying that we shouldn't take a stand on truth. We should. I'm not writing about taking a stance and arguing it cogently or combating lies with truth. I'm writing about the descent into angry pettiness.

Why are so many Christians so angry these days? Not all are. I think many Christians are very nice people that love others, even those they disagree with. But there are definitely some that seem to have rooted their identity in hating people they don't agree with. I see it in articles and websites, on social media sites and on TV. It is pervasive in our culture today.

What does this anger look like? These Christians seem to feel the need to jump on every aspect of a person and denigrate him. There is an assumption that this person they disagree with has no redeeming qualities and isn't worthy of kindness or love. Some make up taunting, juvenile names for the person they disagree with. Some, not content with going after the person, insult his spouse and children. But the worst thing of all? This is often done under the guise of "saving Christianity," as if God won't be able to stand against falsehood and needs us to do the insulting and undermining of a person's life and character to expose untruth. And sadly, I have found that Christians that do this are also ready and willing to take a lie about the person they disagree with and run with it, just because they don't like the person so much they'll believe anything about him.

Why does this make me sad? Because it isn't Christ to the world. Because if I weren't a Christian and I saw the petty attacks and the outrageous anger that come from some Christians, I'd probably pass on the Christian God, too. I am lucky that I have been a part of the body for a long time so that I know not all Christians are like this.

So why am I writing this? Because all Christians should be evaluating the way we approach those we disagree with. First, we should evaluate the way we relate to people we disagree with. We should ask: "Do my actions reveal I hate this person?" Because if we've done any of the pettiness above, we are hating. If so, we need to pray that we can live out Jesus' words, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). We should go to our knees in prayer, not go on social media with a clever hate-name and a tirade of spewing anger. Second, we should evaluate our words and attitudes. Peter admonishes us to, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (1 Peter 3:15-16). People aren't going to be ashamed of their slander when we slander them back. We need to ask ourselves, "Are my words and actions done with gentleness and respect?" If not, we need to change. And finally, we should ask "Am I overreacting?" Sometimes we get so embroiled in our hate that we turn molehills into mountains. We hate everything about a person we disagree with and we huff and stomp any time anything positive is said or revealed about that person. Are we making a person worse than he really is? C. S. Lewis wisely wrote,

"Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred."

Christians are not meant to exist in a universe of pure hatred. If every time you see a certain person and hatred springs up in you, it is time to evaluate the state of your words and heart.

Jesus said Christians would be known by their love (John 13:35). If so, then we cannot turn disagreement into petty and hurtful insult. The world needs to see gentleness and respect towards those we consider enemies and hearts of love and prayer. That will draw the world to God, not the hypocrisy of Christian hate.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


John Donne is my favorite poet. I offered his poem "Crucifying" from La Corona for Good Friday. The poem I share today is personal: It links Jesus' resurrection to our own. What joy we have and will have on Resurrection Day!

La Corona: Resurrection
by John Donne

Moist with one drop of Thy blood, my dry soul
Shall—though she now be in extreme degree 
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly—be 
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard or foul, 
And life by this death abled shall control 
Death, whom Thy death slew ; nor shall to me 
Fear of first or last death bring misery, 
If in thy life-book my name thou enroll. 
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrified, 
But made that there, of which, and for which it was ; 
Nor can by other means be glorified. 
May then sin's sleep and death soon from me pass, 
That waked from both, I again risen may 
Salute the last and everlasting day.

Friday, April 3, 2015


La Corona: Crucifying
by John Donne

By miracles exceeding power of man,
He faith in some, envy in some begat, 
For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate: 
In both affections many to Him ran. 
But O! the worst are most, they will and can, 
Alas! and do, unto th' Immaculate, 
Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a fate, 
Measuring self-life's infinity to span, 
Nay to an inch. Lo! where condemned He 
Bears His own cross, with pain, yet by and by 
When it bears him, He must bear more and die. 
Now Thou art lifted up, draw me to Thee, 
And at Thy death giving such liberal dole, 
Moist with one drop of Thy blood my dry soul.