In the movie “South Pacific” one of the points of the drama deals with the problems caused by prejudice. One of the songs in the movie has a message that we need to hear today: you have to be taught to hate. It deals with problems caused by prejudicial feelings. Young children will play together no matter what their skin colors may be. The natural inclination of people is to get along. It is only when sin enters the picture, only when we are carefully taught to hate, that we start looking for differences and start feeling superior to others.
David dealt with those who hated him. Let’s face it, he didn’t help matters much himself with some of his actions. He had lots of enemies who sought to kill him. The enemies of Israel in general hated him because, well, he was an Israelite and he killed a number of those enemies. Saul hated him because he had been anointed as King of Israel, and since Saul already held that job, he felt threatened. In the midst of his difficulties, David wrote of his trust in God. “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (Psalm 25:1-3)
We are dealing with a lot of hate and anger in our country right now. At a time when it looks like that hate could boil over, the church must stand up and show our faith. The world wants to handle things in “The Chicago Way” while God calls us to deal with the simmering hate in “The Christian Way” – love, forgiveness, grace. When faced with the hate do we trust in our own devices, or do we trust in God and believe that He will put those to shame who have evil intent; those who are treacherous without cause. We have been carefully taught to hate in our society and too many have learned that lesson well. It is now time for the followers of Christ to teach a stronger message. We must carefully teach those who hate how to love again.
There are those who will use legitimate protests to spread the hate, and seek to cause us to hate. As we deal with our thoughts and emotions that are on overload right now, perhaps the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr can help. “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Seek today not to multiply hate, but to multiply love. When cursed, return a blessing; when hated, return the love and grace of Christ. Finally, these words from Longfellow from his song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.’”
Lord God, You are not dead, nor do You sleep. In the midst of a world boiling over with hate, we pray for peace. We pray for the peace that passes understanding as You are exalted in this world. We pray for the families that have suffered losses in these recent days and ask for You to bring comfort. We pray that You would change the hearts of those who have delighted in causing that suffering. Let them be moved by Your goodness and grace. Lord, put to shame those who are treacherous without cause, but let that shame be a reason they seek Your love and forgiveness.