In my beloved America, I believe there is an epidemic that is far worse than any pandemic disease that we have faced or will face. I am not minimizing the devastating effects of disease and the rise in premature deaths for many known and unknown reasons in America. We have serious problems including violence. Our political, social, ideological, and even religious society is daily dealing with this epidemic and if not held in check or rectified, it will destroy us as a Free Nation.
This epidemic will do more than destroy the Republic, it will destroy homes, and individual lives like nothing else. Some will disagree with my assessment and say, “Roy, you have put on your preacher hate and longer a commentator on issues of the day.” You might be right, but my faith hat is the only hat I can faithfully wear. My faith defines who I am, and it shapes every view that I hold about everything. I do not and will not run from that. I will stand on God’s Word and declare what I see.
What is the epidemic of which I speak? It is what those on the Left accuse those on the Right of engaging in when they offer counterarguments politically. It is what those on the Right accuse those on the Left of engaging in when they offer counterarguments politically. It is not one-sided but each side views the issue myopically and improvidently. We cannot see the beam in our own eyes but believe we see the speck in those we disagree with eyes.
I am concerned that this issue or epidemic is a word that, like many others today, has been bandied about so frequently it has lost its meaning to most people. Self-justification is a tool we use to argue that our attitude, actions, and position are justifiable. It is akin to the usage of the word racist or racism, so frequently used and used in so many inappropriate situations it has become almost meaningless. Not that racism is meaningless but the usage of the word.
We use the word Love ascribed to virtually everything from loving hamburgers, cars, clothes, or something to loving people and have diluted the power of the word. I believe in Love and believe that the Bible reveals the incredible power of that attitude, emotion, and demonstration. If I say to someone, “I love you” I am not saying that my feelings or attitude toward them is the same as when one says, “I love hamburgers.” They are not a slab of meat on a bun, they are human beings and worthy of the highest recognition possible.
What am I saying? The overuse of any word and the use of it inappropriately diminishes the power and worth of the word. I believe that words have meaning and when used appropriately with understanding, they convey the depth of the mind, heart, and soul. Jesus said, “The words that I say unto you, they are spirit and life.” The words were calculated and targeted at specifics. They were not veiled justifications or insincere platitudes. Jesus’ words were produced to bring Life like His sacrifice was to bring about Redemption.
Okay, Roy, what does this have to do with the situation in America? Everything! The epidemic that I will finally address is described in another four-letter word Hate! I believe that hate is the single most destructive thing in the United States of America today.
Politicians and activists seem to have the propensity to make accusations toward their opponents and detractors accusing them of hate while stirring up animosity from their followers. Politicians may not call for violence directly, but in their vitriol, they inspire it and many of the followers believe the rhetoric so strongly they justify their intense animosity – HATE!
I have encountered professing Christians who justify their hate for those who are not of their religious, political, or social order. They justify it by saying that those they view as their enemy are evil and justify their animosity believing they are biblically justified. We cannot reach any semblance of true bipartisanship so long as both sides engage in hate.
The writer of Proverbs said, “hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.” (10:12). The apostle Paul urged in Ephesians for all believers to guard against allowing language that corrupts to come out of their mouths. Rather speak words that build up and encourage. (4:29). Then the writer of Proverbs gave a powerful summation, “People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they are deceiving you. They pretend to be kind but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils. While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.” (26:24-26).
Jesus used a disturbing analogy in Matthew 18 when he said, “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, chop it off and throw it away! You would be better off to go into life crippled and lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the fire that never goes out.” (18:8). In Matthew 5 the Lord addressed the flaw in thinking hate could ever be justified. “You have heard people say, ‘Love your neighbor and hate y our enemies.’ But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun shine on the just and unjust. He sends rain on those who do good and those who do evil.” (5:43-45).
In our present world, we have allowed the Epidemic of Hate to split our nation in two. I have heard people on both sides of the political aisle use such abusive language towards those with whom they disagree it inspires violence. When national figures, no matter their political bent use inflammatory rhetoric laced with hatred what can we expect but outcroppings of violence? It has become an epidemic.
If we want to salvage our Republic and restore Constitutional governance, we must address the problem of the heart and the mind individually and collectively. I long to see the church address the problem and seek to inspire believers to walk in love. No, I did not say become doormats but tit for tat will only produce more divisiveness and ultimately separate us to the point we cannot reach any agreement.
Compromise is sometimes a very ugly word, but if we view it as an attempt to find commonality and points from which we can work together rather than abandoning our core convictions we can make it a useful word. If we will recognize that hate poisons the person who hates. It produces chemicals in our systems physically that affect our health and our brains. In a very real sense, we are killing ourselves and destroying America by allowing ourselves to engage in and justify hate.
I wish am so disturbed by the prevalence of hate; I have committed myself to intercession for America. I am praying for the dampening of hate and for an outpouring of the Spirit of God to bring us back to God and our moral moorings. I am praying for a resurrection of rational reason and sound logic in our thinking. We have the inalienable right to Freedom of Speech which includes freedom of thought. We do not have the inalienable right to hate indiscriminately. Hate destroys and prevents any hope of even hearing what those we hate are saying. If we learned to listen again, we just might find that God will help us become restored.
God bless you and God bless America!