Monday, January 25, 2010

Hate the Hate. Love the Haters.

This morning I read a news account of the mass burials taking place in Haiti for the victims of the earthquake. They are numbered at 150,000. A huge number, but they can be counted. Yesterday I heard a message on abortion. Forty million children killed by abortion in our country. Terribly huge numbers ... but they could be counted. I read yesterday that nine million children die every year of malnutrition and easily preventable disease in the world. Over 25,000 each day. Can that be true? I can't get my mind around such numbers.

John saw "a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues." (Revelation 7:9) Who were they? We are told, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation." (7:14) In other words they are the victims of hate - persecution - religious violence. I have often heard that the number of Christians martyred in the twentieth century was more than all the previous centuries combined. And the twenty-first century is shaping up to be even worse. And Christians are not the only ones suffering. Baha'is are being persecuted in Iran. Tibetan Buddhists are persecuted in China.The hatred spewing from the extremist Muslims is itself the product of historic violence against Muslims. Hate gives birth to hate.

But we need look no further than the American culture wars to see hate. The rhetoric of the ruling party in Washington sounds like a hatefest. Am I the only one scared by the hatred in the eyes and the voices of the Democratic leaders in Washington? When did liberal Democrats become a hate group? But the Republicans are no better. Let's be honest - and objective - if such a thing is possible. Both parties hate. They just hate different people and groups for different reasons. "None are righteous, no not one," as the Bible says. Although there seems to be no shortage of self-righteousness! Right wing or left wing - they are both wings of the same bird of prey.

The only solution I know is to break with the hate and the haters, even if it means being the hated. Become a lover - lover of God, lover of enemies, lover of "all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues." Bless your enemy and do not curse (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:24) - no matter who they are and what the issue involved. Stop the hate. Stand with the Lamb who was slain. Hate killed Jesus. Only His love can stop it.

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