Love enough to live

Mad enough to die?

The Old Testament Prophet Jonah was. At least he said so, twice.

Just how mad do you have to be to want to die? When people get mad, they usually want someone else to die, which explains why cycles of violence and hate can go on for centuries.

Last week, when the city was still reeling from the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue, a Presbyterian minister was seen on camera shouting at the President who had come to pay his respects. “You’re not welcome here!” the minister shouted in the video, which quickly went viral.

And the cycle escalated.

We spent the next morning dealing with Facebook posts and messages which came in to the church from across the country. To the angry people who posted or called, it didn’t matter that the minister didn’t serve at our church. We were Presbyterian, so we must be responsible.

At the presbytery office, the deluge of hate was even worse.

People weren’t mad enough to die, but they were mad enough to wish the worst for that minister.

And the cycle escalated.

Jesus never responded to hate with hate. He wept over the city he knew would crucify him. He prayed for those who carried it out.

Do we believe he died for us, haters that we sometimes are, or not?

Do we believe it, or is it just an abstract idea, like a favorite saying we hang on the wall?

I think a fair test of whether the Gospel has penetrated your heart is whether you can avoid being hateful to people you think deserve it.

Can we love enough to live?

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