We have all seen the contrast in how different people are responding to the heinous crime committed Sunday morning in Orlando. Yes, “Heinous”. Since then I’ve read speeches by politicians with amazingly diverse messages—all of whom are trying to capitalize on this tragedy for their own political gain. But what I am most bothered by is an editorial I read today which boldly proclaims I hate the victims (and the author) and I have the blood of the victims on my hands.
Really? I hate them? Why? The answer is simple: I disagree with them on one very simple proposition: I believe the Bible is still authoritative and when it says a certain behavior (in this case homosexual behavior) is wrong, it is wrong.
You can disagree with me, and you consider yourself a hero. But if I disagree with you, I hate you?
There are many calls for unity in this country today. The political divide is mind-blowing. The moral divide is beyond anything anyone my age has ever seen in this country. The racial, socioeconomic, age, sexual preference, religious, (Fill in the blank here) divides are extraordinarily pronounced. And so many still call for unity—among those from all these different groups.
But unity requires more than saying we want it. When you tell me you want unity, and the first thing that has to happen for this unity to come is for me to agree with you, I don’t believe you really want unity. I think you just want me to agree with you (or at least shut up about my disagreement?). When you tell me if I don’t agree with you I hate you—and anyone else I disagree with apparently—and I am personally responsible for a mass murder because I don’t agree with you, you have not helped us toward unity. You have simply driven a bigger wedge between us.
I don’t hate anyone (nor am I “phobic” of anyone). I gave up trying to prove this except on a one to one basis long ago. The reason? Because the very fact that I disagree is pointed to as prima facie evidence of my hatred and phobia.
I’m sorry, but this is nonsense. So, how can we overcome this? I’m certain we cannot for many, because they are so committed to their view, perspective, beliefs, etc. that they actually believe disagreement IS hatred (and I am not excluding many who claim to be Christian from this group).
But I do have a suggestion.
If you think I hate you, tell me how I can show you love—WITHOUT TELLING ME I HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU FIRST. This is not an empty, rhetorical challenge. I mean it. I have asked the question many times and have received very few legitimate responses (most of the responses included some form of “agree with me”).
In the meantime, could we at least put aside the hypocrisy that claims agreement is the basis for unity in all things? I understand that I can never be “as united” with someone for whom Jesus is not Lord as with someone under his Lordship. But my Lord and King commanded me to love people who disagree with me, not label them haters or “phobic”. I’m still trying. So, unless you have grounds for the statement other than we disagree, please stop telling me I hate you.