“They will know we are Christians by our love.” Peter Scholtes
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jesus in The Gospel According to John 13:35
I have feelings of hate for this person whose name I will not type. I share his photo (left) only to note that while he looks somewhat like David Tennant’s Kilgrave in the first season of Jessica Jones, he also looks like the kind of ordinary person I might sit beside in church or stand in line with at the CVS. He organized the nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend. I believe he is spiritually sick.
How can we possibly love people whose actions both display and propagate hate? I get it when those counter-protesting the white supremacists and terrorists who showed up in Charlotteville want to return punches for punches. I get it when they yell epithets over Nazi chants.
But we who follow Jesus are commanded not even to hate the haters. Jesus didn’t even want Peter to attack the high priest’s servant on the night of Jesus’ arrest. An infinitesmally few Christians follow this commandment. I can only think of a handful: Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, all those others who were attacked as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.
How can I possibly love these utterly broken and sin-sick human beings who have desecrated the Grounds of UVA? They are certainly not the first to instill utter hatefulness upon innocent people and they won’t be the last.
First, I must recognize that I, too, am a broken sinner with tendencies towards self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and ignorance. And secondly, I must confess that there is nothing in me that wants to forgive evil or love my enemy … except that Jesus has commanded it. It’s impossible without God.
And so I look to those who model love in Christ better than I do, hoping that one day I, too, will have the capacity to love those I consider to be evil. It’s the only way to stop the madness.
It’s the only way to stop the madness.