Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
We show intolerance to those who are intolerant. We judge those who are judgmental. We readily dismiss the ideas of those who dismiss ours. Such is the state of a culture where being angry appears to be more en vogue than being charitable…and often in the name of love. If one thing seems to be trending in today’s world, it’s #hatred.
Hatred pollutes. It weakens our cause, no matter how noble.
When Israel entered the Promised Land, God made a big deal about how they were not to worship Him in the same way the other nations worshiped their gods (Deuteronomy 12). He knew if they practiced what the surrounding culture practiced, they would soon be absorbed by its influence. It’s a tricky business “to be in the world but not of it” yet that is what every believer in Christ is called to demonstrate.
He has put you…and me…on the earth to reveal a better path. A path marked with grace and truth that outlasts modern attempts to replace it with bitterness and victimization. A path that forgives rather than retaliates, intercedes for its opponents rather than demolishes them.
We will never win the world with the world’s ways. We were never supposed to. Every generation of believers faces the dilemma of “you have heard that it was said…but I tell you…” Jesus established doing life a different way, a way that will always run counter to the culture.
This doesn’t mean we never get angry. Jesus, on more than one occasion, showed deep distress over sin’s results. We should always be disturbed by injustice and suffering, by hypocrisy and callousness. But we can fight it in a way that doesn’t leave a residue of dirt in our hearts.
We don’t have to wear the hashtag #hatred no matter how popular. Jesus’ death and resurrection provides a hashtag for eternity…#forgiveness.
Now that’s hashtag I’d like to see start trending. It’s one that never goes out of style.