Thursday, December 10, 2015

Teach Tolerance and Denounce Religious Bigotry

In all the media nastiness and hate, let's think about basic human rights and what God calls us to do in times filled with conflict and fear. Consider these two points:
  1. The Bible says, over and over and over again, "Fear not." 
  2. God is love, not hate. Jesus said to love even your enemies. Hate has no place in a Christian heart. No place whatsoever.
When we react out of fear, we are not honoring God. When we hate, we are not honoring God.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:18-20

In the words of Ronald Reagan, "We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America – none, whatsoever."

No place for haters in America.

I am a Christian. Do not judge me by the actions of Westboro Baptist, the Ku Klux Klan, the Lord's Resistance Army, and other hate-filled organizations that call themselves Christian.

My neighbors are Muslim. Do not judge them by the actions of terrorists who call themselves Muslim.

I will not be silent in the face of bigotry. I will teach tolerance and renounce racism and bigotry in all forms. I will stand against the forces of hate and evil. I will love God with all my being, and love my neighbor as myself. Because that is the right thing to do...the thing that God wants us all to do.

Let's honor the light of peace, hope, joy, and love celebrated this Advent season and reflect that light to all God's children. Only then will we truly have peace on earth, goodwill toward all.

Heavenly Father, we ask that you strengthen the fearful, give hope to the hopeless, and fill us with your perfect love that we may be your agents in the world, driving out fear and hate as we spread your love to the ends of the earth. Amen.