Check your hate at the door

1 Aug

It amazes me how people can claim to be following Jesus and be so full of hate. It’s easy to mention the misguided folks at Westboro Baptist (who shame not only the name Jesus, but also the name Baptist) with their picketing of funerals with their “God hates fags” signs. But there are many others who claim to follow the Lord of love, but spew vitriol in his name. That must just make him tear his hair out. He took on being human, walked the earth, suffered as we all have and spent his life teaching and showing that love is the most important thing in the universe, and then he died and rose again to prove that love, true love, love as defined by God is the most powerful force in the universe. For Jesus it was all love all the time for everyone in every situation at all costs-for him even at the cost of his life.

And he calls all who follow him into life to love in just the same indiscriminate and outrageous and self sacrificing way. When it comes to following Jesus we really need to check our hate at the door.

This is stirring in me because of what someone wrote about me yesterday. I had given an interview to Joel Richardson, which was bought by World News Daily. They titled the article, “Muslims and Us: Worshiping The Same God?” The interview is fair and I would encourage you to check it out, but the comments were scary. The one that most struck me was (and I quote it exactly as it was written): There God is a God of hate, ours is a God of love…There is a special hell for pastors like this.” Really? That comes from the heart and mind and soul of one who claims to follow the God of love? If he were really following the God of love wouldn’t he pray that I be converted to his religion rather than burning for eternity? His statement would be funny if it were not so sadly ironic.

Some people may think I beat up on religion too much. Religion is rules and regulations made up by human beings to try and control other human beings. If there are those who can comfortably feel this way and think they are in line with the teaching of Jesus I don’t think I’m beating up on it enough. If there are any who think being religious has anything to do with following Jesus and that is keeping them from checking him out, I’m not beating up on religion enough.

If we are going to really follow Jesus, and not just some religion that takes his name, we need to check our hate at the door-all of it-anytime it wells up in us-for anyone-anytime. And just so you understand what I mean by checking it at the door, in John 10:7, Jesus says he is the door for his sheep, for those who recognize his voice and follow him. He is the door. We all need to check our hate there.

I hope there is a special place in….heaven for the one who hopes there is a special place in hell for me. That special place in heaven would be a confessional booth where he could confess his sins against his God and his fellow men and women, and be relieved of the burden of having done those things. He can have it just after I get through with it.

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3 Responses to “Check your hate at the door”

  1. Leslie Beck August 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    I had the pleasure of sharing a Ramadan meal with you on Sunday. I left full of hope for increased understanding among religions. I believe that misunderstanding leads to all the hate that is prevalent today. Thank you for being a leader in understanding (among other things!).

  2. stevestonesr August 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Thank you Leslie! As we make the effort to keep our minds and hearts and souls open to the Spirit of Jesus and to the possibility of encountering any other the world is made a much better and safer place, and we receive the amazing gift of getting to know a living reflection of the love of God in flesh and blood we would have otherwise missed had we caved in to the innate fear and ignorance that first visits us when we meet any stranger.

    • Ken Smith August 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Pastor Stone,
      Please read an e-mail that I will try to send with an attachment that refers to your work in “the community.” The attachment is an article or comment that I sent to The United Methodist Reporter some time back that refers to Mary Jacob’s fine article in The Reporter, “Churches draw fire for welcoming Muslims for worship.”

      I’d appreciate your feelings of agreement or disagreement with what I wrote in the “Fire Leads One to Reason” comment attached to the e-mail that will follow.

      Thanks for your time and most especially your understanding and

      Kenneth Weldon Smith

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