You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
This past weekend while browsing through the blogs I follow, a post by The Friendly Atheist caught my attention, “Updates on Church Vandalism“. I opened the link because it was posted by an Atheist. And while my first thought wasn’t that he was promoting church vandalism, I wanted to see if he was taking the approach of “poetic justice”. Gladly, I was wrong.
Hemant Mehta, was updating those who follow his blog on the status of two cases where churches had been vandalized, one with Atheist graffiti. His response “I’ve raised $4000 for the one church and here’s the link if you want to help the other”.
Would Christians do the same? One group of Christians in March did. They raised money to help cover expenses for an Atheist who was suing the city for posting a nativity scene at Christmas. These faithful believers made a conscious effort to stand outside of political agenda’s and dogma to live in grace and humility according to what Jesus actually taught. Jesus didn’t teach righteous indignation to spew condemnation on those who are suffering. Despite your political and religious differences Jesus says to give them your coat and shirt too (Matt 5:40).
Jesus message has been hijacked by Christians who feel they need to pronounce judgement on the world. Shootings and wildfires are “God’s judgement on the wicked”. But why can’t we take Jesus approach of John 9:3? No one sinned. This is just something bad that has happened and now it’s an opportunity for us to truly show Jesus’ love. To hold our tongues and step forth in brotherly love to care for those who are suffering.
This morning as many try to put the pieces together of yet another shooting, this time at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, I would pray that Christian’s would come to support those who are suffering. To offer grace and peace as the families and communities try to cope with tragedy. The last thing we need is more condemnation for sins.