Advent Devotion 7

Hate Revisited

Yesterday I got a political solicitation email that included this paragraph:

The DC Swamp wants impeachment. The Hollywood Elites want impeachment. The Fake News wants impeachment. The Deep State wants impeachment.   Foreign enemies want impeachment. The Establishment wants impeachment.   They all HATE you, Kim, and that’s why they want to steal your vote.  

It’s US against THEM.  Make no mistake this is a war, and a war we must win to save the United States of America.  

There are many implications in this message, but I want to follow up on yesterday’s devotion about hate.  Yesterday we mentioned the Christian imperative to not hate anyone.  The email cited above invites us to think about how we as Christians are to respond when we are hated.  

This email is trying to convince people that they are hated so that they will respond by fighting back in some way.  It is trying to use hate as a tool to motivate a reaction – a hostile reaction.  The theme of hate is being used to stoke a conflict actually referred to as “war.”  And war involves violence and attacking and subduing of enemies.  The email goes on to specifically mention enemies.

 And what does Jesus have to say about those perceived as enemies?  Those who supposedly hate you?  They are to be loved.  Love your enemy.  Pray for those who persecute you.  So the Christian response to hatred is love.  Compassion.  Understanding.  Forgiveness.  But not more hatred or violence.

We saw this approach to hatred beautifully demonstrated in the Civil Rights movement under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  People of African descent who had every reason to hate people of European descent took to the streets in non violent direct action.  No weapons.  No hatred.  No violence.  They were armed with courage and love.

When hatred is directed at us, may we respond as Jesus did:  With the incomparable power of love.

 Prayer: Prayerfully and honestly consider who may have reason to hate you.  How can you show love, compassion, and understanding?  Our prayers may not change the hearts of others but they may change our hearts.  Amen.   

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