Tuesday, July 5, 2016

There’s a Whole Lot of Hate Goin’ On

With the recent mass shooting in Orlando, I (we) are being bombarded by massive amounts of information, opinion, and politicizing of this horrific tragedy. I wanted to “gently” put in my own perspective.

Unfortunately, being both a follower of Christ and a political conservative, I am finding myself frequently cringing at the ugly things being said about Christians as a whole. To be fair, there’s a lot of ugliness being slung all around towards a number of people groups and individuals in the aftermath of this tragedy, but as a Christ follower I want to address a couple of things.

First, I get that there are differences of opinion over what Bible believing Christians believe about marriage and sexuality. I get that. But, what you my readers need to understand is that for those of us who hold to scripture, there are things we cannot ignore unless what you really want is for us (me) to renounce our faith.

I personally hold to a very conservative view regarding scripture on many subjects. One of the core things that I hold to is that God does not change (ever). He is not moved by we humans and He does not have changeable opinions that are swept along by human cultural changes. He is rooted in absolutes whereas we humans are increasingly drowning in relativism, humanism, socialism etc. More and more where it concerns the modern human that does not follow Christ, the world is seen through a very changeable lens that for the most part cannot fathom any moral absolutes.

The world at large wants to label my (our) beliefs about sexuality (among other things) as hate. I take issue with that. Belief about what scripture labels as sin, is core to what I and most other Christians believe. Sin is what causes the divide between humanity and God. This is core to our belief regarding our need for a savior in Jesus, a savior that had to die on a Roman cross to pay for humanity’s sins. We may accept or reject the free gift of salvation offered by Christ as God is a gentleman and He does not force us to believe and obey which makes us the recipients of the greatest gift (or maybe curse) of all time.

So, bottom line for a conservative Bible believing Christian, sin is sin. That does not change and for others to judge me (us) for these beliefs is just as ridiculous as they seem to think I(we) am to think that they will change their deeply rooted beliefs.

The issue here is that apparently many people in society seem to think that in order for us to love others, we must agree with what they say and do as well. I sometimes think that we Christians are being singled out and outright “hated” more than the very groups we are claimed as hating. Since we often say “love the sinner, hate the sin,” I believe that society refuses to accept that tolerance and love can happen in the same space.

Followers of Christ know that we can definitely show love and compassion while still not agreeing with either people’s beliefs or their actions. We were not called to an easy life, we were called to be overcomers and that road is often rough. But, we do not have to walk it alone. Christ in fact asks us that we let him bear the burdens that inevitably come with life.

Now, the harder part. I am sadly very aware that some people out there, who unfortunately are being heard over social media as well as television, are in the name of Christendom preaching hate. And, the hate that is being vomited out by these “so called Christians,” is even sometimes being tied to scripture.

You need to understand something. Just as so many people in this world who falsely self-label themselves as being “you fill in the blank,” their actions often will call attention to their true nature. You need to hear this, as Christians, we are called out by not only the Bible, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ when we are not living out the type of life we are called to live. Real love reaches out and corrects or at least speaks truth to those who need to hear it even when it’s difficult because we don’t want that person to have to face the painful consequences of sinful actions. We do this knowing that just as Christ was (and is) rejected, we may also be rejected.

I accept the rejection of others who judge me because of my beliefs, and I accept that they have different beliefs and so live out actions that I do not agree with. I agree to disagree with their “chosen (free-will) lifestyles.” Hear me again people: this is called tolerance. Can you say it? There you go, I knew you could.

What I cannot accept is the interference of our increasingly socialist and dictatorial government. (both here in California (Jerry Brown) and in the federal arena (Obama)) In California, we have just been made aware in the last few days that our governor has approved 6 new gun control laws, one of which added background checks for ammo!! This law will only hurt law abiding citizens. The evil criminals that would do us harm will always ignore and find a way around the law.

Additionally, in California once again, our state government (liberal Democrats) are pushing a new bill through that would force all “religious” institutions of higher learning to immediately adopt and enforce the same secular laws, codes, and expectations that are in the secular places of higher learning, i.e. our Christian colleges would have to accept LGBT lifestyles and accommodate them.

Not once were “we the people” given a chance to vote on this. These are the actions of a dictatorship run by dictators who are giving the people no voice.

Ask yourself honestly, if you were in the position of the church at large, or the Christian people in this country who hold to the truths of Biblical scripture, how would these actions by our government make you feel? I for one am angry, sad, and scared.

If we hold to our constitution, then our government is now very much in the wrong and in violation of the core values and original laws that established our rights as citizens. Our government has crossed the line and has broken the separation of church and state by dictating what we must believe and how we live it out in our daily lives.

Bottom line is this: as Christians, we can in fact demonstrate our love for people who we believe are disregarding God’s laws and doing that which He has condemned as sin. We can love people while at the same time, thoroughly disagreeing with how they live their lives.

The people in that club in Orlando did not deserve to be judged and murdered, no matter whether I disagree with how they live or not. As a Christian I am commanded to love and to be kind to those who do not agree with my belief. I try every day to live that out.

Conversely, we as American Christians do not deserve the mistreatment or character assassinations over our beliefs either. We have the right to determine how to educate our children and ourselves without persecution by those who disagree. With true tolerance, we need to make every attempt to live in peace and love with each other. We need to accept our differences and to be kind to each other while at the same time, understanding that it’s ok to disagree and to discriminate inasmuch that we can choose who we associate with, who we do business with, and who we accept into our organizations.

Our government should stay out of our religious beliefs and stop trying to assume a dictatorial role in our lives. And, we as concerned people, Christian or otherwise need to put our government back in its rightful place. After all, they are supposed to be public servants.

Let’s stop wasting time and energy on hate. Let’s pay it forward when it concerns love. Let’s defend each other whether we agree with each other or not. After all, isn’t that part of what free speech is all about? And, let’s go after the real enemies of peace: radical Islam, those who promote artificial class, race, and economic divides that sap us of our corporate strengths, and wannabe dictators.

Don’t just pray for peace, be an instigator of peace!

Seize the day!