I generally prefer to be light and fun here, but I felt led to share this, so here goes.
I’ve been thinking lately about HATE.
I’ve been the recipient of a lot of that over the past few months and it does cause me to wonder. I mean, what’s the point of spreading hate?
I want to say first….that for as much hate mail and vile comments that I receive, I get 50x more loving, caring, generous messages. Many of you have blessed my socks off and been incredibly supportive! I can’t tell you how much it means when someone lets you know that they care about you. And not everyone who sends me these messages agrees with my beliefs, but they want to be a part of the healing anyway. Your kindness overflows!
With the recent Duggar news story, the assaults on their family and watching people spew hate at them….it makes me wonder again why people think it’s OK to attack someone else. It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved. Spreading hate and stirring up people’s lives doesn’t help anyone (including those doing the hating). It only serves to do further damage to an already painful situation.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
In my family’s case, we have been lied about, called unimaginable names and been threatened repeatedly. If I weren’t in the center of it, I would have found it fascinating how social media misinformation instantly becomes truth in people’s minds. How does that happen? Have we forgotten that that there is more than one side in every situation?! And why don’t we realize that we don’t know the details and can’t possibly know what people’s motives are?! Does it not occur to us that some of the loudest voices have personal agendas? Have we lost all sense of caring and concern for anyone who is different than us?
I spent one afternoon last week clearing abusive comments off of my various social media channels and when I was finished I thought, “Ugh, I need to go scrub my brain from seeing all of those foul messages.” And in a flash I remembered….I have a way to do that! I grabbed my Bible and headed to the front porch where I rocked in my chair, soaked in the afternoon sunshine and read God’s message of forgiveness and grace and joy. That did the trick!
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Why is it that if someone disagrees with us, we have to hate them and try to hurt them? I do not understand the need to harm to come to someone just because I don’t like their choices. I do not understand why we have to assume the worst about other people.
Well, actually, I do understand it. It’s called sin. Yes, we ALL sin. Me, you, the guy next door that you can’t stand, the pastor who you expect to be perfect, your doctor, your kids, my kids, policemen, movie stars, sports heroes, everyone!!!! Our sinful nature wants to prove how bad someone else is to make ourselves feel better. So we attack them when we should be lifting them up and showing them grace.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
We have to stop being guided by our own feelings and ideas and personal pain to see the bigger picture!
I’m not saying we should be silent. Yes, take a stand on something you believe in! Yes, speak up if you think it will contribute to a solution. Absolutely be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves (like the 1.2 million babies murdered in the U.S. every year!).
But speaking out doesn’t have to include attacks, assaults, vulgarity, insults, hatred. It doesn’t have to shame the other person or mock their choices. It is possible to disagree with someone and feel compelled to speak out about an issue without making them feel like they need to sleep with one eye open. Do we need to decimate someone’s character to make our point? Or can we voice our position in love, with humility and honor toward everyone involved?
If the only way to prove your point is to destroy another person, then your point has no validity. Your message should be able to stand on its own strength without causing harm to anyone else. If it can’t, then you are wrong.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26
What if, the next time we feel compelled to comment or speak against another person….even if we think what they stand for is criminal or abusive….we stop and consider that maybe we aren’t fully informed? What if we thought about how it would affect us if we were being treated that way? What if we tried to be a part of the solution instead of adding to the problem? What if we thought of them as a human being with value instead of a meaningless enemy?
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
I know there are deep issues out there. Healing, lots of healing, needs to take place in anyone’s life. Shouldn’t that be our goal? To find a place of health and peace and community?
If I don’t like what someone else is doing, I have to ask myself, “Am I actually going to help them to change by assaulting them?” Or could I make a real difference by being encouraging, loving, and understanding while still voicing my objections to their choices?
I can tell you from experience, I have never responded to one of the hateful comments toward me by thinking, “You know they’re right? I am a crazy $&%@#!….I should change that.” Instead it pushes me further and further away from the commenters and their message until eventually the chasm between us becomes so wide that it is nearly (but not hopelessly) impossible to reach each other.
But occasionally someone sends me a message of hopeful correction, encouraging me to read some verses that might point me away from my current choices. Then I actually DO consider their message. I have a lot to learn and want to grow! I want to learn from others, be corrected, held accountable, listen to wisdom. I hope some people will care enough to lovingly tell me when I am wrong. In fact I want that! When it is done in love and with a genuine heart to help me – it is amazing!
And before you think, well I never curse or say hateful things, I’m still talking to you. If you make judgments about people (we all do it!) and then voice your opinions based on those judgments then this applies to you as well. If you have ever left a comment on Facebook mentioning what the Duggars think of women or called someone legalistic or claimed you know what anyone else thinks…you need to step back and examine your motives and look for truth.
I do understand hating someone. I struggle with it just like anyone else. Those who have sought to destroy our family instead of talking with us in love make it very difficult to live out what God tells me to do. I see their posts all over social media rejoicing because of my suffering and it’s so painful. But again, there is help for me. I run to the Word and what do I see there…..love and comfort and a father who hurts when I hurt. He gives me so. much. joy! I can’t help but get beyond my pain and see what’s on the other side of the hate.
There awaits forgiveness. Love. Peace. Compassion. Mercy. Grace. Lots and lots of grace. It is there for me and it is there for you no matter who you are.
You are loved. Believe it. Then spread that around. It’s not easy, but you will find something amazing when you do!
Now back to my regular, fun posts.