In Defense of People You Hate
Updated: Sep 10
I recognize that people like Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and others in our political sphere are controversial figures, and I understand why. And I'm not going to get into a political discussion beyond what my main point requires.
Over the last 4 years, and especially the last 6 months or so, I've seen the virtiol ramp up to a fever pitch. That's to be expected. In an age where everyone has a platform from which to scream their opinions with no accountability and you can craft your own little echo chamber to validate whatever you believe, it's only natural that people would become less nuanced in their thinking and more extreme in their expressions.
Foolish of me to think that some people I know who are in ministry would rise above it.
I've seen people I know, men and women in ministry, say things about various political figures who they don't like:
"That person is beyond redemption."
"That person does not deserve grace."
"That person is responsible for the division in this country."
"I hope they die of COVID-19."
Things like that, in public or on social media for all the world to hear and see.
I'm not exaggerating, by the way. These are verbatim quotes from people who I know who shall remain nameless. And I see these and other things like this bandied about from both sides of the aisle.
If you're a person in ministry and you have said something like this about another person, no matter who they are, you need to double check those thoughts against Jesus. Frankly, if your heart has bent that hard against another, then you really ought not be in ministry. Or at least, it may be time for a sabbatical until you can kill the idol that is your politics and your hatred that have taken the place of Christ in your heart.
Jesus warned that hatred of another is as destructive to the heart as murder.
Jesus cautioned against calling out the speck in another's eye when you have a plank in your own.
Jesus withheld his grace and mercy from no one and cared even for those who, in the eyes of their culture, were beyond redemption.
Listen up: if you're a church leader and you have made your hatred of anyone a talking point in front of those you are called to lead, I humbly submit to you that you are not leading them in Christ.
Actually, this goes for everyone who claims Christianity and then speaks like this in public. The world, always in turmoil, sees the behavior of Christians and makes their assessments accordingly. It will be better for you in the long run if the world judges the Christian faith by the fact that its adherents were too gracious rather than too hateful. You won't stand before the world when your time is done. But you will answer to Someone Else for how you exemplified your faith to them.
Remember that you also have been given grace by the same Christ who extends grace to everyone regardless of what political party they claim. You don't have to like what people do. You don't have to agree. And there are ways to express these things in mature, respectful, and responsible ways. But the minute your speech turns to some paradigm wherein you are above another in righteousness, or that their actions are somehow license for you to judge their value as children of God, you have placed yourself in the seat of the Almighty. When you do, you may find Someone tapping you on the shoulder to say, "This seat is taken."
So be gracious. Be kind. Speak in love and conviction or not at all. And remember that the grace Christ affords you is never withheld from someone just because you deem them unworthy.
Y'all take care and be good to one another.