When I was growing up, my parents had rules of conduct for home and outside the home, and they expected them to be obeyed. In fact, in those days, most parents had rules for children to follow. And if the rules were broken, of course there were natural consequences. But there were also parental consequences — and yes, those included spanking, which is not abuse when applied appropriately to the place the Lord created for that purpose. Most homes were nuclear homes and child abuse was rare.
Today, far too many homes are splintered, far too much spousal abuse happens, far too many children are abused and far too many children are killed, including those in the womb. But I’m convinced that the great majority of moms and dads still love their children and make decisions and rules that they feel are best for the child and his or her life, even though the child may not understand or agree.
But parents are human and none are perfect. I wouldn’t trade my parents for any others anywhere, but I know they make mistakes. Yet, their firm and fair rules did not always make sense to me and weren’t always followed. Looking back, I see the wisdom of those rules and know that had I been more obedient, the consequences that occurred could have been prevented.
There is a perfect Father. He is the Creator of everything and everyone that exists and He sustains the universe. He set into motion every scientific law. He made the wonderful human body to function as superbly as it does. And He knows what makes everyone and everything tick.
He alone has the right and the wisdom to make up the rules for His creation. And He did so. He wrote these down in a single volume of 66 books and gave them to all of creation so everyone can know Him and how to live in this world. Every rule, every commandment, every prohibition has one purpose: the very best for His creation. His rules are not oppressive, random, arbitrary or capricious.
When we follow them, things go well. When we don’t, there are consequences: natural consequences on earth and eternal consequences in the future. And like my mom and dad did, the perfect Father gives His creation the ability — the will — to decide if it will obey or not.
The problem today is not that we don’t have those rules. The problem is not that the rules are difficult to understand. The problem is that we simply don’t like the rules, even though they are best for us, because they do not fit our sinful, lust-filled lifestyle and culture.
So because we do not like God’s laws and rules, we label them “hate speech” and those who abide by them “haters”. It happens at all levels of society. For example, in September, the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives took up the subject of “how the tax code subsidizes hate”, looking especially at a Christian group, the American Family Association.
Rep. John Lewis of Georgia accused conservative and faith-based groups of “promoting hate based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity”.
I have read God’s Word and know that it does none of these things and though some people, under the guise of religion, may practice hate, most Christians I know understand their own sinful hearts and love people who are likewise sinners, no matter their sin.
Jesus Christ is the most loving, perfect, holy, just person to ever walk this earth. He is also the only one who ever lived without an ounce of prejudice or bigotry. As Creator God, He was within His right to destroy sinners and rid the world of sin. But instead, He went to the cross and died, paying the full price for sin, every type of sin. And today He loves every sinner, and hates every sin, but offers to forgive sinners and make them sons and daughters of God.
As His followers, we too must hate sin, every kind of sin, in ourselves and others, but we must love sinners and, because of the Great Commission, seek to bring to them the good news of the Gospel that frees from sin’s power and penalty.
This is not hate; this is the greatest form of love because sin hurts the sinner, his or her family and friends, the community, the nation and the world. And no sin is acceptable. Lying is sin. Stealing is sin. Self-righteousness is sin. Gossip is sin. Disobedience to parents is sin. Covetousness is sin. Assault is sin. Murder is sin. Abortion is sin. Homosexual sex and sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, whether it is pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex. And while society may rank sin and crime as misdemeanor, felony, etc. and we may rank sins by very bad or not so bad (usually we rank our own sin as minimal and others are worse), to God sin is sin and each brings a stench to His nostrils and a hurt to His heart because He wants His creation to obey since it is best for us.
So no, Congressman Lewis, the Bible as written and the Christian faith as practiced in the image of Christ do not promote hate. The Bible is God’s love letter, given to provide instruction for salvation, forgiveness and “abundant life” here and eternal life in heaven in the future. You may not like what it says, but one day, you, as all of us, will stand before God to give an account. The book of Revelation says that, at that time, books will be open. It doesn’t say which books, but most assuredly, one of those will be God’s eternal, authoritative, inspired, unchanging Word.