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Friday, September 18, 2015

If You Hate

If I have a least favorite psalm, then it may be Psalm 137.  If I have a second least favorite it may be Psalm 139 – not the whole thing, mind you, just verses 19 – 22.

If only, God, you would kill the wicked!
Men of violence, keep away from me!
those who speak blasphemously about you,
and take no account of your thoughts.
Yahweh, do I not hate those who hate you,
and loathe those who defy you?
My hate for them has no limits,
I regard them as my own enemies.
(Psalm 139: 19 – 22 New Jerusalem Bible)

I was at a fundraising event tonight for a local crisis pregnancy center. They’re a great organization and I’m glad to partner with them to help people of our community. But the speaker at tonight’s event was (at least based on his speech) less of a pro-life advocate than an anti-abortion activist.

The main thrust of his speech, based on Psalm 139, was “I hate abortionists,” which he expanded to include anyone who supports or endorses or doesn’t speak out against abortion, including any and all democrats.  He hates them.  “I know,” he admitted at one point in his speech, “that Jesus said we’re supposed to love and pray for our enemies, but I can’t. I won’t.”

Regardless of your stance towards the abortion issue, this kind of hatred is caustic and dangerous.

Perhaps you’ve seen this meme (or a variation of same) floating around the interwebs:  “If you hate anyone because of your faith, you’re doing it wrong.” Perhaps someone should tell King David (though I really doubt that this psalm should be ascribed to the poet-king.)

I will admit that I’m not quite sure what to do with these verses of Psalm 139. As a Christian, I interpret the bible through Jesus who said:

“You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you will be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and wicked alike. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5: 43- 48)

To be perfect is to love – as God has loved.  And God loves even his enemies.

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