You consider yourself to be a committed Christian. You’re the good guy. You’re on the right side. So when that jerk who has been hassling you suddenly gets hit with some brutal trial which causes him to get off your back, you find yourself wanting to do a victory dance. After all, isn’t God exalting you by smacking your enemy down? Clearly when the bad news is being poured out on the heads of the people who oppose you while your path is being covered in blessings, then that means God is for you and against them, doesn’t it? Not necessarily. In real life, things are a lot more complicated than this, and in this post we’re going to discuss what some of those complications are. Continue reading
If your overall experience of humanity so far has been positive, then you’re probably not feeling too bothered by God’s command that we love others. And with the Church constantly promoting people as more important than God, it’s going to make you feel a lot more comfortable on Sunday morning if you aren’t harboring a deep hatred for your fellow humans in your soul. When the pastor starts expounding on the importance of loving our neighbors, you can say to yourself, “No sweat, I like people.” Yes, you do. But your main reason for liking them is that they’ve been pretty decent to you. Your “love” for people is based on the fact that they have been doing a decent job of meeting your personal expectations so far. Well, this isn’t love, this is approval. When you say “I like people,” what you really mean is, “I approve of people.” Should those people who you currently approve of do something awful to you, all of a sudden your attitude towards them would change drastically.
In this post, we’re talking to those of you who really don’t like people. Maybe you hardcore hate them. What is your repulsion based on? Well, you’re using the same standards as the folks who claim to love their fellow humans: you’re focused on approval. In your case, you feel that your overall experience of humans is very negative. Maybe you used to like them until some of them really went out of their way to trash you. Or maybe you’ve hated people ever since the beginning because they’ve never been anything but nasty to you. Either way, here you are, hating people. So now what? Continue reading
“How should I treat my brother?” The common Christian answer to this classic question is “Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.” Or we might say, “God commands us to love one another.” And while these are useful guidelines to have in mind, in real life, we often need more specific instruction. What exactly does loving your brother look like? What if you currently hate him because of something he did to you? While Christians often talk as if love and forgiveness are qualities that we can just pluck off a shelf whenever we feel like it, in real life, we often find ourselves at a total loss when it comes to the resources we need to treat others as we’d want to be treated. So then what? Continue reading
AUDIO VERSION: YouTube
We’ve all done serious damage to other people in this world. We’ve said cutting words, shut people down, and done nasty things that left painful memories burning for years. Sometimes we hurt people on purpose, other times we crush them without even trying. Because we do not see each other’s hearts, none of us understand how much impact we have on virtual strangers. What we meant as an innocent joke might have hit some sensitive spot and ended up stinging like a vicious insult. We didn’t mean to do damage, but the damage is still done. Continue reading