Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Love and Hate

There is a powerful mix of love and hate in our world today, and to look at some of the headlines, you might think we love to hate and hate love.

We've been fighting this battle for a very long time.

No matter what you stand for, the truth is that there's something inside of each of us that loves to hate. We hate those things, and those people, that stand on the opposite side of an issue. Supporters of homosexuality love to hate Chick-fil-A. Supporters of traditional relationships love to hate Nabisco. Mozilla hired a new CEO, I assume because he was highly competent, and he quickly resigned over hate based on a principle that he holds personally. Paula Deen lost her empire over a remark she made in a different time, in a different environment. Fred Phelps.... I don't need to say any more. 

What's amazing to me is that we live in a culture that runs on this stuff. It doesn't matter any more who you are or what you do or how good you are at what you do; what matters is politics. What matters is what you love and hate, and how passionately you do either (provided, of course, you are on the right side of the fight). I hate this about our world. Yeah, I said it - I hate. I hate that we've become such a place of politics that personality and even personhood no longer matter.

But what amazes me about all of this is what perhaps the headlines ignore far too much - what's really going on. After Chick-fil-A came out against homosexual marriage, they received a good measure of hate mail and threats. The LGBT movement was up in arms. But they were far outweighed by the number of traditional marriage supporters lined up outside of the restaurants to offer their support.

Nabisco recently released a commercial that angered traditional marriage supporters. People who lined up outside Chick-fil-A started sending hate mail to Teddy Grahams. (Do you see how crazy this is?) They started boycotting the company. The company responded by turning all of the hate notes into a piece of art, and then showed the overwhelming number of comments of support they had received. Again, those who supported the company far outweighed those who spoke against it.

WorldVision recently had a disastrous drop in child sponsorships after adding a homosexual staff member. Many others stepped up to sponsor for the first time.

What this says is not that one side is right and one side is wrong. Nothing is ever that simple. What this actually says is that people are far more interested in standing up for something than standing against it. Yes, a good number of people will complain and boycott and protest; a great number more will support, promote, and defend.

Then what's the solution to all this hate? What is the answer to love? It's kind of...inconceivable.

Inconceivable because we live in a world that can't even consider the possibility that something might be more pressing than its politics. Inconceivable because people these days can't fathom a person apart from the issues. You tell a man to love his brother, and he comes up with all of their differences in a heartbeat. He comes up with all of the politics about a man that he just can't agree with and determines there can be no love. Because he's forgotten how to believe in anything else.

The answer to the love and the hate in our world is to bring a man back to his brothers. To bring people back to one another. To re-establish community and relationships that exist apart from what we all think about this or that thing, where we stand on an issue. It's about teaching men to stand together again. We've lost that.

Man wants something to believe in, right? That's what the evidence shows. So the answer to love and hate is to teach a man to believe in something outside himself. To believe in people. To believe in his brothers and sisters. To believe in his community. 

For many of us, God will be the foundation of this belief, and we know that God is necessary to heal the hurt of this world. But for the unbelieving among us, this is no answer; it is another contention of love vs. hate. It is a dividing point. Which is why whatever you believe about people is the foundation. We all have to deal with one another. We take what God tells us about people - that we are created in His image, that we are loved, that we are fallen, that we are redeemed, and so many other things - and we start teaching men to see that in each other. To see themselves in each other. And to believe beyond what they can sometimes see.

Give a man something to stand for, and he's shown that he will stand.

I'll admit it's hard. Perhaps impossible. Not every man will agree on what a man is. Not everyone will be able or willing to believe in his brother, for whatever reason. Not everyone will believe he even has to, or that this might be the answer to all of the politics. But let me be clear - re-establishing personhood is the answer to all politics. Respect of a man and real relationship is the solution to the love-hate problem.

We are a world torn by our love and hate, playing them against one another. But let's not lose sight of this: Somehow, it all balances out. Somehow, good is still being done. Lord help me, it's more holy math than I can do but I'm glad there's still good in this world. 

It gives me something to believe in.

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