I Don’t Want To Fight: Why Christianity and Hatred Don’t Mix
Back in college I was on a road trip with a woman I was dating. She was much more wholesome than me and it was odd I was able to lure her into a relationship, especially considering my temperament.
“Oh man, I HATE that guy. All his movies suck!” I said, bopping the steering wheel with my hand. “All of them. Well, except ‘Pulp Fiction.’ John Travolta is the worst. I just hate that guy!”
She got silent and I looked over to find an uncomfortable look on her face.
“Um, you sure do say that a lot. Ever notice that? How much you say you hate things?”
No, I really hadn’t. But after she said that I thought about it for a moment and wondered if she was right. I mean, I did hate a lot of things, but come on! It’s funny and entertaining to hate stuff, I thought to myself. But I didn’t say any of that out loud, I just tapped the steering wheel a few times and tried to think of something different to say. Unfortunately it was tough, hatred was my go-to discussion topic.
It seems many Christians have their feet caught in the quicksand of temperament and don’t know it, either. Our world is terribly polarized with each side burning with anger, and in one pocket are people who boldly proclaim a faith in Christ. I justified my anger in the interest of humor and entertainment, and others are pointing to morality.
But they, too, are standing on shaky ground. Merriam-Webster defines hatred as “a strong dislike of someone,” and the Bible is extremely clear on hatred:
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. ” (1 John 4:20)
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9)
Change of Heart
I was walking through the South Dakota Festival of Books this past weekend when a woman let out a shriek. It appeared to be of joy. Or of surprise and joy. She held an iPhone in her hands and I was the only person nearby and she couldn’t contain herself.
“Do you follow Congress?” she asked.
“Kind of, I suppose,” I answered.
“Well, Boehner (she used the alternate pronunciation) has stepped down.” She looked at her phone and read further down the news story. She gasped. “He said it was because of something the Pope said! No way! Can you believe that?”
I agreed with her surprise and carried on my way. Meanwhile the headline news story rattled through my head.
My blogging focus isn’t politics, it’s faith. But these topics certainly intersected here since a politician quit after some words from a spiritual leader. Or since this politician referenced his morning prayers. Twice.
Admittedly, I didn’t know as much about Boehner (though I do know how to pronounce his name), but in researching this I found something interesting about the House Speaker. He often upset conservatives because he wasn’t as fiscally tight as they wanted him to be, so their constituents often withheld their votes. Boehner therefore crossed party lines and leaned on Democrats to get legislation passed.
I also discovered that apparently the Pope’s words weren’t a spark that lit a fire, but the straw that broke the camel’s back. What issue was placing the most weight on him? Planned Parenthood and its malpractice accusations. Planned Parenthood is an organization that performs abortions but communities have relied on it for a multitude of other services for years. So to simply shut its doors rather than vet out and resolve those malpractice issues would be foolish, causing much more harm than good. Boehner is trying to do just that, but the mobs are coming after him with torches and pitchforks.
Boehner was worn out by these extreme measures. I can’t say I blame him, I would be ready to quit, too.
Lessons Learned from ‘War Room’
I want to watch the faith-based movie ‘War Room.’ I fully know it isn’t going to come anywhere close to winning any Academy Awards or anything, but the premise is quite good. In it, a husband and wife are struggling in their marriage when the wife encounters an elderly woman of faith who encourages her to stop trying to fight him and change him and try prayer instead. I have messed up enough to learn this is dead on. Husbands can’t get their wives to change for the better by pressuring them, bickering or pulling away. We can only rely on God.
This film was the top-grossing film in theaters its opening week and has earned $56 million in only four weeks, and several of my Christian friends have raved about how great it was. It has been a total hit and has struck a cord concerning marriages. So why hasn’t the same advice impacted political issues. Just like the plot in ‘War Room,’ we choose to complain, bicker and strong arm legislators instead of putting our weight into prayer to our all-powerful God. It doesn’t make sense.
This certainly isn’t the first time in history this has happened. I’ll wrap with an excerpt from James 4:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.