Hate 101 is when a person has no ability to see another's perspective and their shallow understanding of the world and the another's perspective and experiences leads them into dismissing that person - or it leads them into feeling threatened, insecure and maybe jealousy and bitterness.
A few months ago I heard someone dismiss a church in our area because they were "charismatic." The thing that threw me was the way in which they spoke about this spirit filled congregation. They spoke about them and, in particular, the pastors like they were some satanic apostate community that was leading people to hell or into some false gospel. And I've heard this kind of talk from the other side as well. This is Hate 101.
This one caught me off guard because I've been around a more unifying environment in recent years, where a variety of differing churches came together in respect and in unity.
Just this week I was reading a thread on social media (I know, I know... social media...)
- but it went like this:
"Obama will go down as the worst president of all time. He has ruined our nation, hurt the economy, especially for inner-city black, and has brought nothing but disunity and divisiveness to our nation. He is a muslim and a radical, and he's trying to ruin our country!"
Then someone responded of course:
"I couldn't disagree with you more!!! Republicans are the divisive ones and Obama has done so much good: he's passed health care reform (after five presidents tried and failed to do it, millions of uninsured Americans are now covered). He ended the Iraq war, eliminated Osama Bin Laden, kept America safe from terrorists (safest the nation has been in years), saved the auto industry, a brought back our economy..." and on and on it went.
Only it got more and more toxic to the point that they were writing in all CAPS - SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER.
If it wasn't so awful, it would have been hilarious!
The horrendous thing was that they were both youth pastors, and I'm guessing that, not only did I see this exchange, but their students did as well.
This is Hate 101.
And by the way, hate like this is not based in the fruit of the Spirit. It is not about appeasing people, but recognizing that the language of dogma is not the language of the "peace maker". Remember the Beatitudes of Matthew 5? Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." Wow. How far away from that have we wandered, brothers and sisters in Christ. The problem with being a peace maker is that it requires us to stand in the gap between opposing views and ideologies. Peacemakers find what is true and right about each side and point that out to the other. That is a lonely job, because it isn't about being right and it isn't about standing with the majority. Seriously, Jesus? Why are you always so demanding??
Now, it's not that I haven't failed at much of this myself. I've crossed the line and delivered a judgmental, short-cited comment or two. I just think that you and I can do better.
So, to move us away from hate, what if we actually practiced the words of Paul, that were inspired by Jesus? What if this is what we modeled to our students?
Here, take a look, and read it slowly:
Love is patient
Love is kind
It does not envy
It does not boast
It is not proud
It does not dishonor others
It is not self-seeking
It is not easily angered
It keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
This has really challenged me when I think about interactions with:
People of opposing political views
PEOPLE WHO RESPOND TO ME WITH CAPITAL LETTERS =)
People who have hurt me
Churches who have hurt me
Anyone who has been critical of our ministry or of me personally
People of opposing theological views
That student that drives me nuts
and we could go on and on.
I think that when I can't see how ANYONE could think a certain way or have a certain perspective - this is the result of sin. I'm blinded, short-cited, and I can't love.
May you and I be empowered by the Holy Spirit to love the way Jesus loved. In fact, may we seek his daily empowerment and allow his spirit to guide and lead all of our interactions and all of our reactions. May you and I truly love!