I find it peculiar that, so often, hatred is disguised as Christianity. This sort of hypocrisy does not gel with me. Homophobia, racism, sexism -- there is no truly Christian basis for any of these things. You can pick and choose certain verses in the Old Testament and even the New in an attempt to justify your own personal hatred, but the bottom line is, Jesus said to love everyone. Everyone. He didn't say to love those whom we are comfortable loving, to love those who love us back, to love those with whom we have the most in common. He flat out said to love our enemies, for goodness' sake. (Literally... for GOODNESS' sake.) So how can we translate any of what He said into such hatred, such judgment, for those that we deem different from ourselves?
It breaks my heart that, more often than not, these people are the most vocal of all the people who call themselves 'Christians'. I don't profess to know the mind of God any better than anyone else on the planet, but I most certainly know that, as a parent, I do not love one of my children more than the others. I can tell you flat out that every single person on this planet is a child of God, and if we are made in His image, ALL of us, then you have something in common with not just the people you love, but also with the people you hate. And for all your spouting off about sin, and indecency, and morality -- you are just as much as sinner as the next person. For every judgment you make, you're being judged as well. The bible tells us that "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". Not just the people you don't like. You. Me. Everyone on the planet.
The group of people that Jesus gave the most grief to while He was walking around on the Earth was the Pharisees. (Read Matthew 23, and see how often He says, "Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites!") They were the ones who thought they were better than everyone else, who thought they had the market on righteousness cornered, and that they knew the mind of God better than the rest. They went out and about making judgments, telling others how to live their lives, making a big show of how perfect they were, all the while belittling everyone around them. (Sound familiar?) Who did Jesus hang around? A bunch of foul-mouthed fishermen, prostitutes, a tax collector, lepers... you know, all the ones that the Pharisees thought they were better than. And He did nothing but preach love the entire time He was here, so you'd think that's the one thing that people who call themselves 'Christians' would get right.
I'm not perfect. I sin, every day, every hour. I make thousands of mistakes in a given week. I have hurt people I care about deeply, and I have made myself miserable trying to dig out of the holes I've created, only to find myself in a bigger hole.
We can't save ourselves. We're not good enough. None of us.
It's the whole reason why He did save us. It's why He loves us, even now. Because we're imperfect. Because we need Him. Because nobody is better than anyone else, even when we might think we are.
We're supposed to clothe ourselves with meekness, humility, and servanthood. None of these things are possible when we strive for superiority, point fingers, and live with bitterness, resentment, and haughtiness in our hearts. We're supposed to be kind, gentle, and patient. None of these things are possible when we spend our time accusing others of wrongdoing, jump the gun and lecture others on how to live their lives. We are to be role models, to bring others into the light, not excommunicate them into the darkness because we think they don't deserve to be there.
Jesus looked at you, and me, and everyone else -- with all our flaws, fears, and failures -- and He said, "I love you enough to die for you." The word 'Christian' means that we are followers of Christ. Where He goes, we go. How much love do we have in our hearts?
There'd be a lot more room if we eliminated the hatred.