Again hate and fear are splashed across the pages of our newspapers, our screens, and our hearts. How is our world continuing to spiral further and further out of control? What will stop this craziness? It’s not just the terrible, violent acts, but also the hateful and fearful aftermath. Fingers are being pointed in all directions. We really want answers, and we want to blame someone other than ourselves and our own communities for these horrific acts of violence.
Here’s how Eugene Peterson translates the words of Jesus in The Message, regarding the final days. Matthew 24:11: “In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes.”
There is a lot of confusion, a lot of voices, deception and spreading of evil. What has happened to the love in our hearts? Do you know that fear kills love? More words from The Message, this time from 1 John 4:17-18: “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us…. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear…
For those who want to blame Islam – I want to say this is not Islam. Read these words translated from the Qur’an: “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]… it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.”(Qur’an, 5:32)
And for those who are asking the question (I have heard it too many times) “Why is the Muslim community not speaking out?” They are! I hear them! Maybe their voices are not being listened to, or the wrong people are being heard.
For those who fear (as in fear the slippery slope) the LGBTQ community: These ones are beloved of God! Who does the right to judge and condemn belong to? I remember there is only One Judge and it is not me. This judge is full of mercy – He even loves me, in all my messy brokenness.
The only remedy I understand from the words of my Saviour are, “Love one another, this is my command.” Not just love those who love you, remember? Love your neighbor, love your enemy. Those following Him are supposed to be known by their love, not by their condemnation.
So if the case is that the enemy is not out there, but within our own hearts, if truly our love is growing cold, we better hurry and learn how to love again before all that is left is a pile of ashes.