“What were those idiots thinking?”
“Raca! You fool!”
There’s a lot going on in the world that makes me mad, that makes lots of people mad. But, I’m starting to get more upset at how people respond to what makes them angry than the actual thing itself.
Today’s example: we all heard about the lawsuit filed last week by the “American Atheists” that want to have the cross-shaped steel beams removed from an exhibit at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site.
Personally, I think it’s a dumb lawsuit and it does make me kind of mad – the inclusion of religious symbols does NOT equate with the endorsement of religion by the government. However, the issue of whether to include the cross at the WTC is not the subject of this blog post. Rather, the hatred that some folks have shown in response to the lawsuit is what has me ticked off and writing today.
You see, there are people, and I use the term loosely, that are making some of the most hateful comments that I’ve ever seen over this issue. And what really irks me is that
they are doing it “in the name of Christ”, as “Christians” and “believers”, making
statements like “stupid atheists. I hope God kills them all” and other ridiculous, hateful crap.
No, I’m not kidding, though I wish I were. If you don’t believe me, look here at a bunch of actual comments made on a Fox News FB page – here’s a small sample: “kill them”, “shoot them”, “kill them all”, ”nail them to that cross”, ” to all atheists – die and go to hell”.
Really? Seriously people, really?
As a Christian, this is embarrassing, and it’s angering. How are we supposed to convince the world that Jesus loves them when “Christians” are spewing that kind of hate towards atheists? (Unfortunately, it’s not just atheists… the atheists just happen to be the “target of the day”. Last month, a fellow blogger/friend (Suzannah at Shout, Laugh, Love) had a great post on standing up against persecution of gays here.)
You might say, “well, those commenters aren’t really Christian”, that they don’t really know Jesus, and I’m inclined to agree with you. BUT, they are claiming to be Christians, claiming to be on God’s side… and loudly proclaiming that hate and violence is the way they’d like to handle those with opposing viewpoints.
THIS IS WRONG! And we – Christians that want to model Jesus’ LOVE to the world – need to stand up and say so.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:43-44 that rather than hating our enemy, we should “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Is that really that hard to understand? Can’t we remember that we are to “hate the sin and love the sinner”?
The only time Jesus acted violently was when he overturned the money changers tables in the temple, right? (Matt. 21:12-13) Who was he angry with? People that were mis-representing God, that claimed to be working for God, that gave a false (i.e., BAD) impression of what God is like.
I sometimes wonder: how many people became atheists in whole or part because they were mistreated by Christians? I’m afraid the answer is “a lot”… probably more than I can count, definitely more than I care to admit. How about gays? How many rejected Jesus because they were mistreated by Christians?
Here’s the thing – as Christians, are we willing to accept responsibility for those that reject God because they were mistreated by the “children of God”? In Luke 17, Jesus said that it would be better for a man to “be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck” than to “cause one of these little ones to sin”. We usually think of this in terms of the “sinner” that entices someone – the drug dealer, the sex addict, the child abuser. But how about the self-righteous “believer” that actually drives people further from God because they act in such an unloving manner?
Do you ever feel like yelling or screaming at someone who believes and/or acts differently than you do? After all, you are right and they are wrong?
Would you like to try on this millstone?
I’m not going to pretend that I never get angry, that there is no cause for having righteous anger on occasion. There are a lot of things we can and should get angry about.
BUT, I cannot condone or justify people acting in the unloving, uncaring manner that so many people do… particularly when they do it in the name of Jesus.
“They will know we are Christians by our love.” Boy, do I wish that we actually resembled that comment. Unfortunately, there are many in the world that think they can tell we
are Christians by our hate.
That is sad.
It is wrong.
It makes me mad.
And I really wish it weren’t true.
What are you willing to do when you see “Christians” acting in an unloving manner? Are you willing to call them on it?