“This guy is a complete Jerk!” I had just finished getting breakfast for my kids when I got sucked into Facebook far too early. Those words hovered at the top of my feed posted (along with more of the all-to-common venom) by someone I respect. But that’s not what bothered me most… that came later. I read his little hate-rant and then mindlessly scrolled through my feed for another 30 seconds before one of the tiny humans in the other room asked for seconds on Cheerios.
Luckily, that was enough to break me out of Facebook’s hypnotic state so that I wasn't sucked back in when the bowl had been refilled. I finished getting ready and was on my way to work when the real problem occurred to me: I hadn’t been effected by that post.
I realized that over the past several years I had been administering little doses of hate every day so that little-by-little I had built up an immunity to this poisonous emotion. The kinds of things my friend said should have made me recoil and be disgusted, but I read them and continued on as if he had merely mentioned what he had for lunch.
And, he was a Christian. In fact, many of the people who have helped me develop my immunity to hate have been Christians. Whether they couched it in a political statement, or worse, a prayer request, their tiny doses of hate have worn away at the lining of my heart until I didn’t even notice the ulcer that had appeared.
There is only one cure for what we have done to ourselves. There is only one thing that can repair the damage to our hearts: Love.
Please hear me out. When I say love, I don’t mean the sappy thing that is written about on flower-covered cards this time of year or the emotional high championed by basically every hallmark movie. That’s love… I’m talking about Love.
I’m talking about the deepest power in the universe. I’m talking about the Love that causes mothers to jump in front of cars to protect their children. I’m talking about the Love that causes young adults to leave careers to alleviate poverty. I’m talking about the Love that binds two souls together for 50 years until they are parted only by death.
I’m talking about the Love that sent a only-child to live amongst foreigners to show them a new way. I’m talking about the Love that died on a cross to heal the brokenness created by hate. I’m talking about the one thing that can bring true hope and healing. I’m talking about God. Right?
Because the Bible says crazy things like “whoever does not love does not know God.” The Bible says that “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” Why is that? It’s simple, because “God is Love.”1
Listen! It’s time for us to talk about love, to offer it to a world so sick with hate that they don’t even know it. It’s time for us to let go of the hate we have incorporated into our own lives and allow God to transform us, to overwhelm the hate with Love. It’s time for the church to become an uprising of Love so that the world may truly know God.
Let us tweet Love instead of hate. Let our words be so filled with God that they could only be described by the hashtag #godislove. Let us speak it to our friends and act it out to our neighbors. Let us believe it so deeply in our hearts that the Love overflows wherever we go.
And when we are offered another little hit of hate? Let us refuse it. Let us teach our children to Say No To Hate the same way we teach them to say no to drugs. Let us reach out across our boarders to share love with every kind of person so that the world may know that God SO LOVES THEM that he sent his sons and daughters to love them right where they are to lead them forward into a bright new future.
May it be so.
If you’d like to explore God’s love with a group of people who need it, we’re doing that over the next several weeks on Sundays at 5:00pm at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL. Or, just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can talk about this uprising together no matter where you are.
1 All verses from 1 John 4