Well, the vaccine knocked me out yesterday, but I am pretty much back to myself today and feeling good to have the second shot working in my system creating antibodies.
Today I was out in the car with Mike briefly for an errand, and as we were returning home I noticed a large decal on a truck that read, “Hated Locally.” Mike and I both thought it was odd, and Mike suggested it might be the name of a band. So I looked it up online. It’s not the name of a band. In fact in all of my searching online, I could find lots of stores where I could buy the “Hated Locally” decal, bumper stickers and clothing with that phrase, but I couldn’t find any indication of what it meant. So I guess it means was it advertises, that the owner of that decal is proud to be hated by his or her neighbors. Can that really be true?
In the wake of the shootings of eight people in Atlanta four days ago, President Biden said yesterday “hate can have no safe harbor in America.” I hope he’s right. While I may not be clear about whether or not hate can find a haven in America, I am certain hate has no place among Jesus’ followers. Jesus is the one who told us the second most important commandment is to “love our neighbors as ourselves” behind the command to love God with everything we’ve got. Then he went on to suggest to his followers that those neighbors we should love include people we may be inclined to hate (see the story of the Good Samaritan.) Jesus also called us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. And the early church made a hugely positive impression wherever it was nested because the followers of Jesus loved everyone around them so completely.
One of my favorite songs in the church has as it’s refrain, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” There simply is no room for hate among Jesus’ followers. It’s not part of who we are. No doubt some of us will struggle from time to time to let go of hate. It takes work to practice love of enemies and annoying people and mean people and people who persecute us with hateful talk and hateful actions. But we are called to love – that’s all.
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