After the terrorist attacks that have taken place in the past few weeks - the bombing of a Russian passenger plane, bombings in Lebanon, shootings and suicide bombings in France - I feel like hating. Just a little scan over my Facebook Timeline shows me I'm not alone. There is a part of me that doesn't just want justice. I want revenge. I want to hate, and to be bigoted, and to get rid of "them."
When is it ok for Christians to hate? Is it ok after a terrorist attack? When brain-washed Islamic fanatics kill a whole bunch of people, is it ok to
hate them? To hate their people? To hate every man, woman and child, every old grandma? To wish them evil, exile, even death? To wish that they be wiped from the face of the earth?
The easy and hard answer is, never. If we say we follow Jesus, we can not hate other people, not even murderers. It is one of the hardest sayings of Jesus, one we would rather ignore altogether, especially in a time of international upheaval and suffering. "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you." That is a command, not an option. And Jesus showed us the way when He was hanging on the cross. He did not revile, complain, shout insults, or vow revenge. He blessed the thief next to him, and forgave everyone who had put him up there, even the guys who had driven the nails into his hands and feet. Jesus demonstrates RADICAL LOVE.
Jesus shows us a new way and better way. Radical means "from the roots." If we are to live a truly Christian life we are commanded to love instead of hate, and to pray for those who do us harm. We must forgive - not an option.
Does that mean we condone evil? No way. But it does mean we cannot transfer our hatred of evil acts into hatred of human beings. Jesus loves everyone. EVERYONE. Every sinner, everyone who has ever lived. And he love even me.
Pray. Pray for those hurting after an act of terrorism. Pray that God would keep hatred away from your own heart. Pray for governments, that they would act justly. We can leave the international politics to politicians - maybe they will do right, maybe they will err. But we can allow God to soften our hearts so that they are filled with compassion for all, even when the tears are running down our cheeks.
Here is a prayer that helps me get my heart back where it should be when I feel hate creeping in: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner."
I have been forgiven much. Because of that, I am called to forgive, to do good, and never, ever to hate.
I am a Catholic wife, mom and grandma. In 1995, after Bible college and a few years as an Evangelical Missionary, I was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. These are my personal musings on Scripture, prayer, and living close to Jesus.