Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Separates Christianity From The World?

In America today, we are seeing an increase in attacks on individual freedoms. For example, if someone publicly says something that might offend others, they are often vilified and persecuted. Instead of simply ignoring or quietly disagreeing, many feel they are justified in punishing others with different viewpoints.

This type of demonization or de-humanizing of others is the catalyst behind this behavior. In the minds of those who love hatred, this gives them the moral authority to impose judgment upon those they disagree with. If the target of their abuse is guilty or "deserves" it, this serves as justification, at least according to their way of thinking.

On the other hand, the love of God (which was revealed to us through Jesus Christ) is completely different. Jesus commanded us to love those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us. In the eyes of a loving God, there is never an excuse for one person to physically instigate violence toward another individual.


I don't believe this means we have to be best friends with our enemies. Nor does it mean we should let people physically assault us without defending ourselves. It does mean that we should treat everyone with respect and kindness, even those who hate us. 

We have laws in this country. If somebody commits a crime, they are subject to punishment according to our laws, not according to vigilante "justice." This also applies to imaginary crimes, such as the ever popular "hate speech" crime that many Christians are supposedly guilty of these days. There is never a time when a person is justified in persecuting another person, or physically/verbally assaulting someone just because of their words or beliefs; at least not according to God.

The bible says that when Jesus returns, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who receive Christ as their redeemer. Having been forgiven, they likewise extend this forgiveness to others. The goats are those who embrace the hypocrisy found in this world. Though they themselves are imperfect and make mistakes, they refuse to show mercy to those around them who are also imperfect.

So then, what separates Christianity from the world? In a word, love...but not the love that is born of this world. It is the love of God; the kind that requires us to keep showing His love, even toward those who hate us. Indeed, it is only God's miraculous love that can truly overcome the hatred and hypocrisy, drowning this evil world in which we live.

(Scripture references: Matthew 25:31-33, Matthew 5:43-48)

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