Isn’t it crazy that some of you may have actually checked out this post just to see what I hate? We have certainly become a group of people that are strangely attracted to the negative in the world. So what is it I hate?
I hate being a Christian.
Like many of you I have watched the events of hate, racism, prejudice, violence, and just plain stupidity continue to play out in our country. It seems like we will never learn. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that if someone is yelling I can get them to listen to me if I yell louder. Or my favorite, I can persuade people that violence is bad by beating the living life out of someone with a bat, a car, or a garbage can. We have become a nation of insane, stupid people, because we keep doing the same thing over and over and then we expect different results. Paul was right when he said to Timothy, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments because you know they produce quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23). I like the verse it makes a lot of good sense. I learned that early in my life when I would often argue with a drunk - it never produced the results I desired. And yet like so many other people I find myself drawn more quickly these days to engaging in foolish and stupid arguments.
But I hate the next verse - “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24). Now if Paul meant be kind to everyone that is like me then I like that verse, but if he means everyone like EVERYONE, like members of white supremacy, black separatist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, or the over 917 hate groups in the U.S., then I don’t like that verse and it would be yet another reason why I hate being a Christian.
I hate being a Christian because it forces me to stop living in the world of the insane and stupid. Christianity expects me to reject the thought process of this world by embracing a different way of thinking. I hate that Christianity requires me to figure out how to love the fool that is shouting obscenities at me because I believe all people matter to God. I hate that instead of getting to physically lay my hands on someone in the name of Jesus when they act violently towards me or those that I care about that I am supposed to figure out a way to serve them, figure out a way to wash their feet. I hate that when I encounter people who have no intention of changing their minds, who are firmly rooted in their toxic thoughts, I can’t just walk away, I can’t just give up on them. Instead Christianity demands that I continue to pray that one day their hearts of stone will be broken. I hate that being a Christian doesn’t guarantee me that I am one of God’s favorites, but instead as a Christian I am to proclaim with boldness and conviction that God’s has no favorites, that we ALL have fallen short, that we ALL have disappointed God, that we ALL stand in the need of forgiveness and mercy, there is not a righteous one amongst us.
The truth is I do not hate being a Christian.
I love being a Christian because it invites me to see myself not as I am, but as I am becoming. When I have emotions of anger, frustration, disappointment, revenge, directed towards people who are so radically different I am invited to make a decision. I am invited to decide will I see myself as I am, a person who wants to shut the pie hole of a bigoted person with my fist, or to see myself as a person who is becoming more willing to follow my leader, my role model and pray, “Father forgive them for they think they know what they are doing but they do not.” I love being a Christian because it reminds me that in a world filled with hate, violence, prejudice, racism, and just plain stupidity love ALWAYS wins. Christianity reminds me that even in the darkest of times the light continues to shine, the darkness cannot overcome the light. I love being a Christian because there is always a call to hope especially when others feel like abandoning hope. Ultimately, I love being a Christian because it calls me to a higher standard of living. Being a Christian calls me to love difficult, broken, hurting, obnoxious, and just down right moronic people because I am truly one of those people. When I truly love those kinds of people I am learning to love myself and the more I learn to love the more I discover just how amazing God really is!
Perhaps it is high time that we stop trying to prove how amazing we all think we are by trying to out shout or out punch one another and instead focus on just how amazing God really is. We have tried the other way and look where it has gotten us - a world filled with haters.
Perhaps it is time for us to rebrand the United States by appropriating Virginia’s tagline - The U.S. Is for LOVERS not haters!