I’ve had enough of people who say they are followers of Jesus yet act with hate. This week brought the distressing news that the Westboro Baptist church plans to picket Robin Williams funeral. Believe it or not, the church’s website address is godhatesfags.com. The homepage includes a list of “sister” sites: GodhatesIslam.com; Godhatesthemedia.com; and Godhatestheworld.com. It seems that God hates just about everybody except the people of Westboro Baptist church, who feel it’s their duty to let everybody know just how hated they are.
Imagine what those URLs would look like if we applied Jesus’s teaching that God pours love on the “righteous” and the “unrighteous”; that God’s love extends to those who have made themselves his enemies as much as those who consider God their friend. We’d have Godlovesgays.com; GodlovesMoslems.com; Godlovesjournalists.com; Godlovestheworld.com. What if we applied it elsewhere, such as this: Godlovesrefugees.com; Godlovesasylumseekers.com.
Love, of course, is not some soppy sentimentalism that pretends everything is all right. There are ways every single one of us is flawed and broken, and to grow into our humanity is to address those points of brokenness. But the thing about love is that it doesn’t use the brokenness of others as a reason to harm them.It is the determination to do nothing other than seek the well-being of the beloved.
The absence of hatred does not give us love. At the moment it seems to me that while there may not be hatred for some groups in our society (I’m thnking Moslems, asylum seekers and refugees) there is certainly fear that drives us to justify behaviour that harms. This is no more an expression of love then the picketing of Robin Williams funeral. Love is only present when we actively seek the well-being of the other.
Hate and fear assume the other person is the problem and focus on the change needed in them. Love focuses upon how I am behaving towards the other and the change needed in me.
It’s time to let love reign, to resist the banality of fear and hatred, and make ours a society marked by the fierce determination that we will do nothing other than seek the well-being of each other, of every other human being on the planet, and indeed of the planet itself.