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Long ago I used to hate baby rapists, genuinely despised them, did not even feel sad when someone here backed over one with a car four or five times.

I also hated addicts, they steal your stuff, they are unpredictable and violent, especially meth heads.  They’d murder their own mother for her social security check. And they do exactly that all the time. Tweakers are often covered in sores and  missing teeth, too. I wanted us to  have tweaker season so you could just hunt them, bag’em and tag’em.

Then there are the men who abuse their wives and girlfriends. I know, everything is “abuse” these days, but just the same I know of a baby that will spend the rest of his life in an institution and a young girl who was beaten to death and left in a shallow grave. I’ve never forgotten them.

Then there’s the people who misrepresent Jesus Christ, the ones who preach falsely and who scream hatred on people. Extra credit points if you can work that around your exploitation of women and children. Nothing quite like a pedophile false prophet who uses scripture to attempt to justify assorted perversions.

Suicide was another source of hatred.  I know, it’s irrational, but I wanted to just kill people……who kill themselves. They hurt their families, their communities, they abandon us. It made me mad.

By the time we got to the bigots, racists, and radical preppers, I just didn’t have much room for anymore hatred. I was plumb full. I was already a full-blown murderer at that point. Rage in my heart, in my mind, and  in my spirit, all the time.

sheriffYou can pretend we’re in the old west, “some people just need killing, although you hate to waste a good bullet.” My husband once had to explain to me that you really can’t kill all the bad people……because there’s just too many bad people. You won’t get them all and that would be unfair to those you let live.

I can jest about such things today, I can call myself a murderer with grace and humor because I haven’t actually killed anyone. My kid once said, it’s a good thing mom’s so lazy or there would be a lot of dead people lying around! Ha! She was so right. Fortunately I am a lazy murderer or I’d probably be having a thriving prison ministry right about now.

Long ago, the Lord began a good work in me. He told me to go have pie with a pedophile, but not just any baby rapist, a broken, wounded 13 yr old boy. The Lord made it quite clear to me that a murderer really had no business hating on a baby rapist, as if that hatred somehow proved how virtuous I was.

That kid changed everything. He had a terrible and tragic history, he was all confused, he kept telling me, “but I’m not a bad guy.” He broke my heart and being a mom I was able to begin to empathize. I just couldn’t dehumanize and hate on a 13 yr old kid. But for the grace of God there go I, too.

Hatred is wrong, always. Hatred dehumanizes other people. It eventually turns those who carry it into virtual murderers. It is a heavy burden to bear. Hatred is wrong even when the people you hate are being evil and probably just need killing. Some people argue that God hates some things, so some hatred is God endorsed. I say rubbish. Unless you are God, you simply lack the ability to hold two conflicting things in your heart at the same time.

Hate is not a Christian virtue.

I know what it is to hate. I also know what it is like to hate all the “right things” and deceive yourself by masking it in virtue. It’s okay to hate baby rapists, right? Wife beaters? Tweakers? Neo-nazis?

You know, just the bad people. 

No, no it is not. That part about love your enemies, He meant that. Love your neighbor? He meant that, too. To love the unloveable is not to endorse evil, it is to endorse the Lord.

So, I’m a bit of a moral absolutist. While the Lord may be full of grace and mercy and understand our struggles when things are hard, Christians are still called to love. That means, no, it is no okay to “punch a nazi.” No, it is not okay to hate some Antifa kid with a black mask and wooden sword.  Nor a liberal or a feminist or a rabid right winger….

The ultimate irony to me, is that President Trump, a sinner if there ever was one, has done a better job of embracing those values than many Christians I know.

I get temperamental just like anyone else, and political too sometimes. We all have our personal biases, but I promise you, I do not hate and I do not nurture offense in my heart. I’ve been there and done that already.  It just makes you a murderer and a murderer lacks the moral authority to even discern who the “bad” people really are.

Love conquers all and He is now seated in victory at the right hand of the Father. His love changes everything and His love calls us away from hatred, away from mediated reality, AND away from our own biases. I trust in that love.