Radio Show Host: That person is walking in outright disgusting sin.
Radio Show Guest: Is it okay for me to hate him?
Radio Show Host: I would say, yes. It cannot be tolerated. In fact, I would like the audience to join me in mailing this person a letter telling him that he is going to hell. I am going to do that as soon as I get off the air.
These words, though somewhat paraphrased because real names are not used, blew my mind! I was randomly going through radio stations and came across this Christian station. I was surprised. I have heard of individuals who have acted this way, but never really understood how this concept can exist in the Christian realm.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of this attitude staring me down. I have had people from church hang up on me, speak evil about me, turn me away, gossip, accuse me and criticize those whose lives are dedicated to the Lord.
But I took it all in stride, knowing that I was only accountable for my heart, that these individuals did not represent all believers and that we are all subject to fall. And so, I walked away from those with this attitude. That is not to say that I didn’t get hurt at times.
It has also been church going Christians who have encouraged me and prayed for me and with me. Those I choose to rub shoulders with are those that have experienced their own difficult times yet have risen up as warriors and overcomers, filled with COMPASSION for the lost. They are those that believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and the power of God’s undying LOVE.
LOVE is the key. God is love.
It is because of HIS love for each of us that Jesus came to earth to die so that we can escape sin and death. I have heard testimonies from individuals who have had near death experiences. They desperately try to explain how MUCH the Lord really LOVEs each of us.
It is his kindness that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4) Condemnation will never lead to repentance. People who feel condemned always put up walls. I know, Ive been there. Love doesn’t condemn, that is the enemy of our souls who uses that measure.
Love doesn’t compromise with sin either. That is also the enemy’s tool. All the talk about tolerance is dangerous because at times it means to tolerate sin. Compromise is an open door to confusion.
So, if we aren’t to walk in hateful anger towards those who flaunt sin as the opening statements suggested, and we are not to tolerate sin in our lives, nor compromise with it, something Jesus never did, what are we supposed to do?
How are we to love those that mock our Lord, those that make it their business to attack our values, or those that walk with arrogance or self-righteousness?
My personal answer: We fall in love with the one who IS love. IF we are consumed with HIM, HIS love flows out of us for others.
How can we accomplish this? It is by building a relationship with God. The way we build relationships is by spending time with those we say we love. In the case of our Lord it is through prayer or talking with him and reading his love letters (the Bible) and by being around those who have the same desire.
The Lord gives us the ability.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Consider Steven who was the first martyr for Christ. He was so deeply in love with his Lord that he didn’t compromise his stand for Christ; he also didn’t retaliate in vengeance.
“And as the murderous stones came hurtling at him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he fell to his knees, shouting, ‘Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!’ and with that, he died.” Acts 7:59-60 (TLB)
I want to learn to love others with the Lord’s pure love. Am I willing to die for those who hurl insults or attack my way of life or verbally abuse those I love? Jesus loved so much he died for us WHILE we were sinners.
That kind of love does not attack others, BUT it also doesn’t compromise in sin nor agree with those that do. The more we fall in love with the Lord, the more we desire to become like him. Ultimate love would be to say like Steven, “Do not charge them with this sin.” It is also standing strong, as he did, WITHOUT compromising. Instead, we should desire to help those in bondage to become free.
“that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26
Father in Heaven, I ask that you baptize your people with your love so that we walk in its purity, not condemning those who are confused or lost, but instead, by your grace, mercy and wisdom, directing them to the way of freedom and truth. Amen
For God SO LOVED the world…
3 thoughts on “To Love or To Hate”
Beth, I so agree with this! But, it doesn’t mean that Steven didn’t tell his murders the truth about their sin, or that he softened the message. He didn’t. And, neither did Jesus or the apostles. They spoke in love, and they spoke the truth, and they didn’t water down the message or gloss over or smooth over the truth so as not to offend people. I like how you dealt with this subject in that you presented both sides of the coin and how you approached loving others as Christ loves us, which does not placate sin, but which shows love and kindness to the sinner, for we are all sinners by nature, and only saved by God’s grace.
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Yep. We CANNOT compromise. Im learning that more each day. The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all that we are. That includes obedience. Loving others is second to the Lord. Think the workd has gotten that backwards. We are told love and grace without loving our Lord first. That is dangerous because it turns everything gray. Thanks for the comment.
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Beth, you are welcome, and thank you so much for your response, too. I so agree with you!
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