The shouting, the slurs, the swastikas, and hands raised in Nazi-style salutes. These types of images instill fear in my heart, thanks in part to the warnings of my Polish Jewish grandmother. Somehow these symbols and images have been resurrected in our time, now targeting not just Jews but also black people and Muslim people and immigrants. How can this be?
Seeing these images emanate not from black-and-white clips of Nazi Germany but technicolor shots of Charlottesville stoked anger inside of me. But the words of the Beloved Disciple rang in my ears:
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” — I John 4:20
In the darkness of my outrage, I want to hold a sign to the white supremacists that says, “You are all liars! 1 John 4:20”.
But holding such a sign just makes me a big liar, too.
When I hate the haters, I become a hater.
What we witnessed this weekend in Charlottesville was vile, putrid, pit-of-hell evil unleashed.
My heart ripped open for the 32-year-old Heather Heyer who died protesting the same Nazi ideology that threatened to gas my grandmother and turn my dad into a lampshade.
This ideology still wants to mutilate people of different religions, ethnicities, backgrounds, and sexes.
White supremacy must be stopped. There is no room for that kind of racism or hatred in our nation…in our neighborhoods…in our schools…in our churches…in our families… in our hearts…
How do we stand against evil without our hearts becoming dark?
How do we stand against racism and hatred without allowing evil into our hearts?
Only through Christ.
Christ came to make a way where there is no way.
Only through Christ can we forge a way forward.
Only through Christ can we find a way to defeat evil.
Only through Christ can love crush the serpent’s head of hatred.
The love that Christ offers doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t give one person a double portion of love, another a half-portion, and still another a bar tab for His love.
God’s love is so gracious and spacious that it pours out on all humanity.
Just because you are loved and made in the image of God doesn’t mean someone else is hated or somehow fashioned as a disgrace.
Jesus came to crush our boxes and biases and bigotry.
I’ve dug deep this summer in the story of Christmas. How can we forget that the greatest news of all time was hand delivered by the heavenly host to shepherds, magi, an unwed teenage girl, gentiles, and more.
God’s love swoops low to embrace all humanity.
God’s love knocks on the closed doors of our souls, the crumbly shale of our heart… and declares…
For God so loved the whole world….
White supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and those who embrace racist ideologies…
They believe in their supremacy…superiority…. entitlement … that to take their “rightful” place others must be abused … subjected… diminished ….exterminated …. gassed … turned into lampshades.
They fail to recognize anyone but themselves as made in the image of God ….
They act as if God so only loved them… And that is a whisper from hell.
I have so many questions…so few answers…but what I know today as I wrestle with God and learn from precious friends…and even my father in deeper discussions…
We must learn to love through action and advocacy…
We must learn to lay down our petty grievances, biases, and preferences…
We must learn to stand guard to prejudices and stereotyping…
We must refuse to allow this hellish evil to win.