The other day we were sitting around the table and I said that I hated a certain thing—and there were gasps heard from my children. “You’re not supposed to hate,” they told me. I quickly explained that while it’s not okay to hate a person, it is fine to hate something.
The problem with our culture, however, is that we are much like my children in understanding the difference between hating a thing or an action versus hating a person.
This came up on this blog recently when I made the case for Heterosexual Marriage1. There is a lot of hate for the Mormon church right now for the fact that they poured a ton of money into the California election to help pass Prop. 82.
For the record, I support Proposition 8 (though I don’t live in California), but I do not hate homosexuals. I see them as confused, and sinners just like I was—until Christ saved me and changed me and continues to change me into the image of His dear Son3.
The Root of the Problem
The problem is that we’ve allowed weak arguments and name calling to substitute for good debate. We live in a world of sound-bites, and we live and make our decisions by sound-bites. If we sat back and analyzed exactly what is being said and what is being done the absurdity of it all would be obvious.
For example: Part of the gay-rights movement’s strategy for getting people to accept homosexuality as normal and something to be accepted rather than treated as unnatural is the attempt to have people realize that there are homosexual people all around them. The thinking goes that if you know that your friend is a homosexual, or that your relative has homosexual friend then you will see that these people are “normal” people like you or I and then you will want them to be happy, etc.
The problem with this is that this same logic should be applied to the Mormons that funded Proposition 8. They were people that believed a certain way, they had a certain opinion about a certain act, and they expressed it peacefully. You know one of them, or know of someone who does, and they are not out causing hate—they are just expressing a point of view of something that they passionately believe—and believe effects them (whether you agree that it does or not).
It’s a case of what’s good for the goose not being good for the gander.
Policies, not People
The problem is that politics and the culture have attempted (with a great deal of success) to link who a person is and what their policies and positions are. People can no longer be thought of as good or decent and still hold positions that are opposite yours. There can be no polite disagreements—the person with the opposite view is evil, dumb, stupid, egg-headed, liberal, conservative, or whatever other name you want to throw at them.
We’ve been reduced to children, attempting to bully each other with name calling and believing the names we call others. We choose not to hear because of the names. We choose not to see the person, only the idea that’s been banged into our heads continuously that they’re liars and we’re truth-tellers.
And like many circumstances, there’s truth in both.
Christ calls us to be more than this
The liberty in Christianity is that God tells us that we’re all sinners. We’ve all fallen short. We all have temptation, and we’ll all fall. Each of us has a sin—and probably many—that we struggle with, even if they aren’t the big ones you hear from the pulpit. We all have a long way to go to be like Christ.
The challenge for the believer is to not look at the person that disagrees with the Bible as anything but what Christ sees. Christ came to Earth to die on the cross for that Atheist, Agnostic, Homosexual, etc. person. God loved them enough to send His Son.
Let that be on your mind as you discuss your differences of opinion. Speak the truth, but speak it in love.
- Also know as traditional marriage.
- The ballot initiative to write into the State of California’s Constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman.
- A process that will only be completed in my death or when Christ returns.