Hate, anger, revenge and the Christian counter-culture of love, compassion, and forgiveness

Jesus with the woman at the well (John 4)

Jesus with the woman at the well (John 4)

Hate, anger, revenge and the Christian counter-culture of love, compassion, and forgiveness

“Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

The Sermon on the Mount

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:1-11)

VIDEO – Jesus Of Nazareth (Quote 9/10) – Speech On The Hill – http://youtu.be/nP2lFNDXjig

 

Anger

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 5:21-26)

With whom are we angry? Whom do we hate? Upon whom do we seek revenge? Our enemies? Our fellow human beings? Our brothers and sisters?

Love Your Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 5:43-48)

Our Father, who is in heaven, makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. We therefore must be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect, by blessing and forgiving those who sin against us.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgiveness

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 6:14-15)

But are we not right, and our enemies wrong? Are we not exceptional? Are we not so much better than our enemies? Are our enemies not savages? Inhuman monsters? Morally inferior to us? While we, alone, are good, humane, and noble?

Hypocrisy

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 7:3-5)

Should we not see ourselves in the places of those we hate and despise? Is it not by the grace of God, alone, that we are not as they are? Or: as we imagine they are? Are not all peoples the children of God? Are not all peoples brothers and sisters, who, all of us alike, have feet of clay?

The Golden Rule

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 7:12)

Should we not treat all peoples as fellow human beings? As a persons of inestimable dignity, worth, and value? Should we not love them instead of despising them, because they have beliefs and values that are different from ours? Or because they have wronged us, in some horrible way?

“Hate, hunger, and pride make better levers of propaganda than do love or impartiality.” ~ Jaques Ellul

VIDEO – Faces of the Enemy – http://youtu.be/JDq2Ja3DlGg

 

“Once certain groups are stigmatized as evil, morally inferior, and not fully human, the persecution of those groups becomes more psychologically acceptable. Restraints against aggression and violence begin to disappear. Not surprisingly, dehumanization increases the likelihood of violence and may cause a conflict to escalate out of control.

Once a violence break over has occurred, it may seem even more acceptable for people to do things that they would have regarded as morally unthinkable before.”

See: Dehumanization – http://www.beyondintractability.org/bi-essay/dehumanization

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

VIDEO – Joshua Casteel: “To Love One’s Enemies” – http://youtu.be/rM98TuV-RB0

 

Joshua Casteel

Joshua Casteel

About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
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