The People We Love to Hate

We may have every reason to carry an offense. But following Jesus means we give up the right to hold onto it. Hate is not an option.

Written by Eliza Bast /
December 14, 2016

This past election season has been insane.

To say anything less is a complete understatement.  And between traditional and social media, it was challenging to not find yourself inundated with postcards, commercials, quote and memes that pilloried people into a specific camp with utter disdain.  It was crazy making.

As a person who gets to share the good news of the gospel and espouses a firm belief that a loving God is reaching out to love all people, I purposely only posted to encourage people to love well.  The response from people I know who join me in faith was frightening.  How could I stand idly by as a woman of color?  How could I stand idly by as a champion for children?  How could I?  How could I?

In weighing through the options of what policies best align with my understanding of the gospel, some things feel very fluid and gray.  But for my brothers and sisters who love Jesus – here is one thing that is not optional.  John is clear in his letters that we are to love one another.  In fact, he makes the point that, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).  Does that mean immigrants?  Of course.  Does that mean babies?  Absolutely.

Does that mean politicians and the people who vote for them?  You betcha.

We do not get a “pass” in our space to disagree to treat our fellow humans with contempt.  When we choose to “pick up our cross”, we willfully let anything die in us that is not helping us be formed into the image of Jesus.  We may have every reason to carry an offense.  But following Jesus means we give up the right to hold onto it.  Jesus took every sin upon himself so we could experience grace that compels a responsibility in us to extend the same grace we’ve received.

The church never gets the green light to hate even the worst of sinners.

That is such good news for us!  It means that, in our sin, the best we can hope for is a God who passionately loves us and a community who partners with him to pursue us.  I hope the next time we are in the throes of decision that every Christ follower would spur each other on in good works, praying for the future of the communities around them and for the unity of the Saints.

And I pray that we would learn to look at those we disagree with, and see them through the eyes of the Jesus who paid the ultimate price for them too (1 John 4:9).

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