A friend emailed me this morning, distraught that he’d been unfriended on Facebook because of some comments he’d made defending Christianity. I didn’t find his remarks all that offensive—unfriending seems a rather extreme reaction!
Then there was this week’s news that North Korea has banned the import of any products with shapes or logos resembling a cross. It’s not just religious articles or symbols—the ban includes men’s neckties and women’s hair pins!
At first glance, these two events seem to have little in common. A closer look suggests that the same emotion underlies both—fear. Let me explain.
Would you walk up to your friend, criticize their political or religious beliefs, and insult their morals and/or intelligence? How about insulting their friends or their spouse? You wouldn’t have many friends, at least for long!
Xxxx shared Being Liberal‘s photo.
(M) This is great. Make sure to do it (and share it), if you want an anti-gay politician’s head to explode.
Yet, people seem to be doing this all the time in blog comments, on Facebook, and through other social media. They post cartoons or remarks that are just plain nasty—and largely based on untrue stereotypes.
I was reading my Bible this morning when I came across these verses (Matthew 26:59-60):
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
When I’ve read this before, I’ve always dwelt on Jesus’ sinless nature, and how there wasn’t any real evidence so they had to invent something deserving of the death penalty. This morning, what caught my eye were the false witnesses.
I wondered… who were these witnesses? Did the Sanhedrin go looking for people to lie on their behalf? What would cause a person to testify falsely? Was there money involved? And in this case, they weren’t just lying. They were lying about God! We, of course, would never do such a thing!
“Hate the sin but love the sinner.” I’m sure that’s Hesitations 3:16, isn’t it? How often have we heard that phrase and just accepted it as gospel truth. But is it?
I have no problem with the idea of loving the sinner. I do that all the time. I love my friends. I love my kids. I love my husband. I even love my self.
Of course, “love the sinner” is usually used with regard to unbelievers. In that case, it’s even more clear. We’re supposed to love our neighbors, no matter what their view of God. Yet, often the church doesn’t do a very good job of this.