The Lie of Hatred
Before a young man shot and killed ten people and wounded three in Buffalo, NY, last week, he wrote a 180 page document in which he alluded to racist conspiracy theories, notably one known as the “Great Replacement. This theory stokes white-nationalist fears of being replaced by immigrants and minorities in this country. The shooter was motivated by a desire to “terrorize all nonwhite, non-Christian people and get them to leave the country.” It was this anger at white-replacement that caused the shooter to target and kill Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket.
In a separate incident this past Sunday in Laguna Woods, attenders at a Taiwanese church were shot, one of them killed, by a man expressing hatred for Taiwan. In documents he sent to a newspaper, he characterized himself as an “Independence-Destroying Angel.” He allegedly also identified as a Christian in terms of his religious beliefs.
Two different people on different ends of the country committing violence and murder, not out of personal hatred, but out of hatred for entire groups of people. Shockingly, they both allegedly identified with the Christian faith.
The Spirit of Truth
This past Tuesday, we met online for our Christian Basics Bible Study. The topic was the Holy Spirit. When we look at John 14:17, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of truth.” In 1 John 4:6, the writer contrasts the “Spirit of truth” and the “spirit of falsehood.” Those who followed the spirit of falsehood were those who rejected the teaching of Jesus and divided from the community of Jesus, holding instead to a worldly viewpoint.
The spirit of falsehood is at work in our world today and even in the church. The spirit of falsehood seeks to divide people, foment hatred, and incite violence. It falsely claims “Christian” identity while rejecting the teaching and example of Jesus. This virus of falsehood is more deadly than Covid-19 or any other physical illness, because it destroys not just the body, but the soul.
When the Holy Spirit fell on the church in Acts 2, he enabled believers to speak in different languages, bringing people of different nationalities and ethnicities together. People who were previously divided due to language and culture were united through the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Jesus, so that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, NIV)
There is so much falsehood spreading like a virus throughout our culture today. It is more urgent than ever that those who follow Jesus listen to the Spirit of Truth. He will guide us into all truth. One of the great truths of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ gives us an identity that is higher than race, ethnicity, nationality, language or culture. Let us counter the virus of hatred and violence with the vaccine of Jesus Christ who teaches us to love all people, even people who are different from us, even those who consider us enemies. And let us pray that the tide of violence in our nation would turn, and that God would establish his peace through his people who listen to his voice.
Links to Articles Referenced