To love as God would in the world is the great privilege of the class of humanity, yet a trillion shimmering stars of indifference separate you and I because of our ever unique value-sets. Let’s face it, we will not agree. But we can still respect each other.
One thing many Christians still do not get is hate talk makes people walk.
A salient, ever topical, subject is that of homosexuality: the sexuality and spirituality of being gay. Few subjects will divide and conquer the purposes for fellowship or evangelism than this one. Everyone, it seems, has a strong view either way, or an equally strong view straight down the midline. Any view is quickly polarised and rendered loveless.
I have to admit I struggle to accept homosexuality; I see this as God’s challenge to me, though, to grow in tolerance toward those in same-sex relationships. It’s not their issue (apart from their personal relationship with the Lord) as far as God is concerned; it’s mine. Each of us, ultimately, is accountable to God alone. That I could be offended in any way is God saying to me, “Let me help you sort you out, Steve.” God is no respecter of persons because they are this or that. The Lord’s love is equal for all.
But that separated, we come back to the core issue: hate talk.
The Casting Division Of Hate Talk
We need to understand that hate talk, in this frame, is not essentially about talk that intentionally offends a person or persons (though it is that, too); no, it’s talk that expresses our hatred for something, however ‘immoral’ or personally distasteful, without thinking about how our mode and mood of expression might impact others—particularly those who may attach themselves centrally to the issues we’re ‘attacking’.
And it can be hard to know who stands on what side. That’s the thing with hate talk; it loses context with the present tense and it harbours a grudge for the deeper value betrayed. It sinks into a bygone era, or at least it loses time and touch for love.
When we come together in bonds of friendship and commonality, yet we spiral back into ourselves and the hidden tentacles of our inner fears, even for an instant, we betray another person, perhaps, in spite of the vast numbers applauding what we are saying or doing.
Haters may have their support, but still the silent majority will walk. Haters soon lose credibility for love. And if the hater calls themselves Christian that, there, is a cosmic dichotomy! It’s more Pharisaic and not Jesus-like at all.
We’re all potentially perpetrators of hate talk, because it’s the way we think, especially when we consider the world dark, grey, and formidable.
But we can be better than hate if we can understand our fears run cross-grain to the hope of community—the fellowship of love where individual desires and fears must give way to the tolerance of embraced diversity where we let God be God; yes, even a respectful silence, or the love-guarded word, when the world is going pear-shaped.
It’s a trick for young spiritual players to meddle idealistically in the world of current affairs and ethics in showing the cards in their hand of the flesh, veiled in the words of the Bible.
This is not to say there is to be abject tolerance of overt sin—which presumably has a relational malevolence about it. But we are all sinners and we must understand that hatred of sin to the point of judgment generally turns back toward hatred of the sinner, if we haven’t mastered the offence felt within ourselves, first. Recall the ‘plank and speck’ story of Jesus’? (Matthew 7:1-5)
Hate talk comes centrally from a section of indifference from within the hater. The hate turns back on the hater and their world shrivels and their relationships suffer; even of those they love. Hate talk is diametrically opposed to being Christian. If we’re Christian we’re not to hate; not ever.
Are non-believers to be turned off Christ before they’ve even sensed a whiff of salvation, because they hear hate from so-called believers? I should never be.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.