I find it interesting how much hate is going around within a community of people who claim to be following Christ. You read through comments on news articles and it goes back and forth of people slamming each other.
I have recently been doing a lot of reading on what it means to really be a disciple of Christ and to truly follow Him. One of the common themes is love for all people. Christ, not once, says that He hates anyone. In fact, He goes out of His way to show love to people others hate. It doesn't mean He agrees with what they are doing, but rather He gives them the option to have new life and be free from sin.
In Dissident Disciple, Augsburger shares a story of a community where a group of Mennonites had moved in and bought up a lot of the land. One gentleman who still lived in the community hated the Mennonites and even ran some of them off the road and claimed he wish he could do the same to the rest.
Not long after that occurrence there was a terrible storm and his barn was hit by lightning. The lightning started a fire and burned the barn to the ground. The next day, much to his surprise, the Mennonite community showed up at his house. They brought everything that would be needed to rebuild the barn and feed everyone that was helping. His barn was reconstructed. The story ends with the man standing in his driveway watching all that is going on with tears running down his face as the people he hated were showing him true love.
Like I have mentioned before, love is always going to cost us something. You can't love someone and not expect to give up part of what you claim is yours. These people were doing just that. They were giving up their time, their resources, their lives to help a man who they knew didn't like them. They were loving him.
I have been challenged recently to read 1 John 2. In the midst of reading that I came upon a piece that fell right in line with something else Augsburger had said.
9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:9-11
Augsburger said that Tripolar Spirituality is the Spirituality of radical agape and enemy love. In other words, I love God only as I love my enemy. Which is what I get from 1 John 2:9-11.
He also goes on to say that Jesus, unlike his followers, did not teach a
bi-polar spirituality of individual encounter with God as the goal of
the inner life. He was unequivocal in teaching a tri-polar spirituality:
'discovering and knowing the self by knowing and loving God through the
experience of loving the neighbor who images God.'
O, I like that! I know we can argue that the other approaches sometimes
reach out - as a consequence of first reaching in or up - but I think
I'd want to argue that they also often malfunction on the way. The
tri-polar approach strikes me as refreshingly and daringly Christlike.
I again would tend to agree with this. As I have said before God didn't intend for us to live alone. He intended us to live in community. If we are busy hating people how can we possibly love them enough to allow them into the community God has created for them.
I have two last examples that I want to leave you with. You can think about them, respond to them, or challenge yourself by them.
As many of you know, yesterday was deemed Chick-fil-a appreciation day. Many people went out to support Chick-fil-a and them being pro-traditional family. It was a big day for them. However, there were also people that were protesting Chick-fil-a yesterday in the midst of it all. While the restaurants were busy and the protestors were doing what they could to make people "aware" of how "bad" Chick-fil-a was, several of the restaurants sent out employees with water for the protestors. If that's not showing love to someone who hates you, I don't know what is.
Lastly, there was a lady by the name of Mrs. Mary Glover who was a sixty-year-old African-American woman serving at the Sojourners Neighborhood Center 20 blocks from the White House. As was custom, they were praying before they began serving. Mrs. Glover began her prayer with "Lord, we know that you'll be comin' through this line today. So help us to treat you well."
40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Mathew 25:40