How about being aggressive about asking every Bible class, small group and pulpit to speak of the need to rid ourselves of hatred and, most importantly, to stop justifying hatred by ourselves and others. Even trendy, funny and socially acceptable hatred. I give you full permission to take exception with the actions of another if you find them frightening or dangerous or even just plain wrong. But hating is an entirely different animal.
As Christians we can never be afraid to call hatred the sin that it is. If you can't disagree with someone without anger and violence then your anger needs a good look, because righteous disagreement does not include hate. That is because hate derives from fear and with God we have nothing to fear that is essential. When we hate we mock God in the truest sense of the word.
Let's be clear. There is no group, subset, family, individual, political activist, corporate board member or employee, not-for-profit worker, government staffer, unemployed person, welfare recipient, teacher or student, preacher or church member, law enforcement personnel or inmate, doctor, nurse or patient, merchant or customer, blue collar worker, white collar worker, athlete,entertainer or sinner who is (1) outside of the family of God; (2) unworthy of God's love by the blood of Jesus; or (3) who does not long for safety for themselves and their families, but can never guarantee physical safety for even one moment.
In short, we are all in this together: grieving, stunned, afraid, outraged, broken and uncertain what to hit, who to blame, how to fix this. But this thing is sin pure and simple: usually it is a string of sin from advocating hate to tolerating hate to believing we poor human beings can make a difference by “being nice” without the Grace of God. It is being complaisant about the evils we can challenge. We are too broken, too willing to condone and justify evil, too afraid that when we take a stance we might meet violent resistance, loss of stature or feel less safe than ever.
Two recent PBS programs, one Ken Burn's series Prohibition documents "solid citizens" teaching their children to eschew lawfulness and tolerate bullies; today's Secrets of The Dead: Bugging Hitler’s Soldiers exposes tapes made surreptitiously as German POWs, officers and enlisted, speak with chilling complacence about the massive, broadly known and soul crushing mass murder in the name of the godless nationalism that destroyed Germany in less than three decades.
Lawless is not new, of course, but the truth that both of these programs shine on the human condition is the ease with which any one of us can be sucked into rage and anger against those different than ourselves by those who abuse, censure, condemn, criticize, declaim, decry, denigrate, denounce, disparage, fulminate, impugn, inveigh, vehemently protest, rave at, rail at, remonstrate against, run down, vilify or vituperate anyone or anything because they are themselves aggravated, angered, annoyed, antagonized, bugged, exasperated, frosted, galled, gotten to, incensed, infuriated, irked, irritated, annoyed, impatient, maddened, miffed, needled, nettled, peeved, piqued, provoked, rankled, riled, rubbed the wrong way, ruffled, teed-off or ticked off.
Please note that none of these states of being include being in eminent danger, terrified, horrified, at high risk or in immediate peril. It is as though we are so overwhelmed with the truly dangerous in our communities, nation and world that we prefer to be piqued about an inanity rather than passionate about investing in making things different.
If you identify yourself as Christian, I challenge you: get centered and take a stand, calmly, advocating for love of all of God’s children at all times, in all places. Live with courage and speak the truth. Because to do less is to surrender to the lost, broken, angry, impotent folks who so desperately need the love of God in their lives. God is bigger than all this, but God requires of us our personal participation to invoke healing, restoration, rehabilitation, hope, faith and love!
And no where in the Old Testament or the New does it say to build a better fortress against the evils of the world! But it does say to step out in faith, being the hands and feet of God in a broken and lost world. This is where our true security is found.