Years ago I was watching the 11 o’clock news and they were reporting that one of the nation’s top 10 child-pornographers had been arrested withing thirty miles of our city.
It was infuriating and heart breaking to hear accounts and the amount of gut wrenching evidence collected.
After they finished reporting the story, I said to myself through clenched teeth, “I hope he burns in hell.”
Those are the words I heard immediately after I said the word “hell.”
It wasn’t an audible voice, but I knew exactly where it had come from. At first, I was a little surprised and slightly indignant. I began a split-second, inaudible exchange with God, “This man deserves to pay for his wrongs and You are the Judge!”
In that moment I realized, more than I had ever known before, that He wasn’t like me. Tears began to flow as I saw the glaring contrast between me and Him.
The tears weren’t compassion for a guilty man, but because of the overwhelming love of a Father for people .. . all of them.
Make no mistake, God doesn’t condone abuse, hatred or behaviors that harm others, but that doesn’t negate His mercy, love and hope for people to be restored to relationship with Him.
God hates sin and injustice but He loves people (check out the amazing example of Daryl Davis: The black man that loves racists out of the KKK.) Charlottesville has tested all of us in this matter. We feel justified to condemn hate-filled people.
How much hate is acceptable?
Normal human beings would all agree crashing a vehicle into those one hates is deserving of condemnation. Marches, carrying torches or rallies for the purpose of demeaning and degrading others deserves to be disavowed.
But, is it ok to have those feelings and beliefs inside without physically acting on it? If I possess disdain, degrade others and hate inside am I any better?
Is there anyone you hope burns in hell?
The miracle of the cross is the power to transform murders, abusers and racists into someone completely different. Much of the New Testament was written by man, Paul, who killed Christians for a living. Imagine that, after a transformative encounter with Jesus, Father God invited a man who killed members of His family into His family to represent Him throughout the known world in that time. Not only did He invite Paul into His family, ask him to be an ambassador for the gospel, He then has Paul capture His truth and instructions that would be canonized for the rest of natural history.
God loves. If we are yielded to His thoughts and ways, we will be able to even love people who do very unlovable things.
Yes, we speak out, we hold people accountable and we can offer the hope of something better to those who will receive it.
- I HATE YOU!! (but we stuck like glue)
- Thank God for the Law!
- Jeremy Austill: 3 Thoughts on Charlottesville , Daily Post
-BREAK IT DOWN: Process it some more with some coffee or friends!
- On a “Good Person” scale of 1-10, where would you rate yourself and why?
- Who are some people you would rank a 10?
- Who are some people you would rank a 1? Is there anyone you hope burns in hell?
- Take a look at 1 John 4:8 “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
- What does it mean to love someone?
- According to verse 9 and 10, why did God send His son into the world?
- Do you believe everyone needs a Savior or just “bad people”? Why?
- Check out Romans 3:23-26. How do you feel this applies to you?
- Closing Prayer: “Father God. I admit that I am not without sin and guilt. I am in need of your mercy. I pray for you to forgive me for the hatred and anger in my own heart. Save me from my own sin and the separation that results from it.”