Faces on Faith: Love does win
“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
-I John 4:20
The evens of the past few days in Charlottesville Virginia have brought to the fore the forces of hate, which are part of our national life and part, frankly, of our life in this world. This is not merely a matter of differences in political opinion. It is way more than that. We have seen before, and we are seeing now, the ugly head of a fascist ideology living on a romantic interpretation of a lost cause and calling into question not only our commitments as a people, but also the very tenets of the three monotheistic faiths.
As a Christian I’m pained that many of those voice speaking hate filled words consider themselves to be Christians. I have always hesitated to question another’s faith, but in this case I have no qualms whatsoever to say that if you espouse this kind of thinking you have put yourself outside the pale of Christianity. You may mouth the right words, sing the right songs and have the right doctrinal positions, but they mean nothing.
If being a Christian is being a disciple of Jesus then you must walk the walk of Jesus, as well as talk the talk of Jesus. The verse from I John at the beginning of this article says what needs to be said. Those spewing hate filled speech and flying the banners of lost causes, which millions gave their lives to defeat, have put themselves outside the faith.
I doubt there are many reading these words that would spew such hatred, or wave such banners. Perhaps you are, like me, shaking your heads in disgust. It’s good that we do. But we need to do more than shake our heads. We need to confront such thinking head on; particularly among those we know the best. Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes it means we lose friends, or perhaps, even family members, but if we are to be faithful to the God we worship then it is necessary.
Wincing or changing the subject in conversation is not enough these days. Speaking truth is often hard, but necessary; else evil has an even stronger foothold. If we have children or grandchildren, we need to ask ourselves if the world we want them to live in is represented by the angry faces lit by torches and carrying the banners of hate, or the love shown to the world in Jesus. And yes LOVE DOES WIN!
-Rev. Dr. John N. Cedarleaf, Captiva Chapel by the Sea