We cannot let hatred win!

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Monday, October 29, 2018

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” 1 John 4:20

On October 27, 2018, a terrorist armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns, opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue while shouting anti-Semitic slurs. At least 11 congregants were killed, and four police officers and two others were wounded. The massacre occurred in the wake of the Friday morning arrest of a man who the authorities said sent more than a dozen pipe bombs to critics of Mr. Trump.

Many have lamented the fact there has been a surge in hate-related speech and crimes across America for the past year. The hatred is being fueled by high profile politicians- on both side of the aisle- that have demonized their critics thus emboldened their supporters to target their opponents for physical harm. The result is a tension-filled atmosphere where racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia are attacking the very idea of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”

Those who have been stoking the fire of hatred with their vitriolic and divisive language are agents of evil that are using their position of influence to divide the masses so they can remain in power. This is not a new phenomenon. On July 19, 64 A.D., Emperor Nero set fire to Rome so he could bypass the Roman Senate and rebuild Rome to his liking. He blamed Christians for the fire thus intensifying the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. A large number of Christians were killed in the Coliseums to the delight of bloodthirsty spectators who were taught to hate Christians.

Just as Nero’s hatred did not defeat the power of good or stem the tide of the spreading of the gospel, the hostility we face today will not prevent “These United States of America” from being the mosaic that it is intended to be. We cannot let hatred win. For the sake of the victims of the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and those who were murdered in Pittsburgh this past weekend, we cannot let hatred win.

The power of love is far more potent than the weapons of hatred. Those who promote hatred are weak minded individuals who are being exploited by the devil to do his bidding. They are too spiritually blind to realize that hatred always consumes those who endorse it. God-fearing followers of Jesus Christ have to pray for them to be delivered from their enslavement to hate, and we have to find the courage to forgive them while providing the spiritual space for them to be restored.

Jesus taught us all that those who hate cannot be his followers. How then can a Christian be an “Evangelical” or “Baptist” or “Pentecostal” or “Presbyterian” or “Reformed” or “Methodist” and hate others because of their race or ethnicity or political affiliation? The writer of 1 John 4:20 call such a person a liar.

Just as love is a choice, hate is also a choice. No one was born a bigot. We all have to learn to resist the urge to hate. Jesus chose to love those who crucified him. The early Christians that were martyred in the Roman Coliseum prayed for their persecutors and their executioners. During the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King refused to fight hatred with violent means. Instead, he chose to follow the path of non-violence because he wanted to make room for the restoration of those who endorsed hatred.

I don’t know how long this season of divisiveness in America will last. What I do know is that we cannot let hatred win. For the sake of love, our conversation must always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer everyone with compassion (Colossians 4:6).

Prayer- Blessed Lord, may your comforting love sustain the family of those who were martyred in that Synagogue in Pittsburg. Remind us all that it is better to love than to hate.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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