Sunday, February 20, 2005

What Should We Hate?

California's Capitol region has heard a lot about hate speech in recent weeks.

A Land Park couple hung an American soldier in effigy from their house. Homeowners Steven and Virginia Pearcy placed a placard around the soldier's neck that read, "Bush lied, I died," in protest of the war in Iraq.

Displeased neighbors held an emotionally-charged vigil to protest the effigy Tuesday night. Some have charged that the vigil ventured into hate.

Closer to home, Placerville Mayor Robby Colvin presented an official proclamation to the Human Rights Roundtable that declared the city a hate-free zone.

Many who attended the meeting feared that those who use religious freedom to speak against homosexual activity could be prosecuted for hate speech, according a February 10, 2005 Mountain Democrat story. One man who attended the meeting feared that the civil government had declared war on Christianity.

With all this talk of hate speech, we often ignore what the focus of our hate should be.

Religious people freely express that God's people should love their neighbors. That's true. Jesus taught that you must love your neighbor. He said this love based on a foundation of complete devotion to God (Matthew 22:37-39).

But hate? Does God truly want us to hate? He does.

It's not an emotionally driven hatred that's focuses on politics or immoral activity. Nor is it hatred that destroys peoples lives, including yours.

No, God's righteous hatred is directed toward the things that He hates.

That brings us to the thought for the week:
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9).

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).
God fearing people don't react with hatred toward those in whom we disagree. Instead, we act with love, as defined by the Corinthians passage, while remaining on the lookout for sin in our lives. God's people uphold the truth without sinning.

Will we act on the hatred that prompted Cain to murder his brother Adam (Geneses 4:1-16)? Or will we focus our hate on the things that God hates, like sin?

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