Differentiating Hate from Disagreement

We live in a day and age where the word “hate” is grossly overused. All we have to do is accidentally look at someone the wrong way and fifty people will lash out with blog posts and vlogs. And God forbid that that person is of a different religion, skin color, culture, or sexual orientation than you. If they are of the minority, they get double protection from our society.

Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world, and yet we are called inconsiderate. Hypocritical. Insensitive. Granted, there are some Christians that are more outspoken then others. As is true for all religions, there are some Christians who do not act as Christ-like as others. There are people who call themselves Christians who give the Christianity name, and worse, the name of Christ a bad rep. But that still is not enough grounds to call Christians haters.

It is easy to loop everyone under one label. Everybody does it, including myself (see my blog post “Stereotypes” for more thoughts on that topic). The point I am trying to make is that words are powerful. We should be very selective in the words that we use.

I am going to use a very controversial topic as an example, so please bear with me. I believe that homosexuality is wrong. I could point out numerous Bible Verses that say the same (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:8-10; Romans 1:18-32). The most base argument I can make is that in Genesis, God created a woman to be a man’s companion (Genesis 2:18-25). There are countless Bible Verses that discuss a marriage between a man and a woman (Ephesians 5:25-33; Mark 10:1-12; Proverbs 5:18-19, 12:4); obviously if God intended for marriage to be between two people of the same sex, then there would be verses about this type of marriage. Does the fact that I do not agree with homosexuality mean that I hate homosexuals? Absolutely not! In fact, I pray for them often. If and when I meet homosexuals, I do not spit in their faces or slap them or ridicule them. If they were to ask my opinion on their decision, of course I would present it, but that would not be hating on them. That would be expressing my belief, just as their expressing their love for each other in their own way is expressing their belief.

America is an amazing country that has supposedly granted its citizens the freedom to choose. I say “supposedly” because with every passing day, it is becoming apparent that this country is not as free as it appears. Within the confines of our society, there are limits to the things we can say and do. Rules are good. Rules were created for a reason. However, when Christians specifically are ridiculed and brought to court for expressing their beliefs, while others are allowed to freely express their beliefs (homosexuals waving their rainbow flags and signs, Catholics dressing in their grandeur and performing mass), there is something wrong. There is something wrong with our culture’s idea of freedom.

I am not saying that everyone should flaunt their beliefs. There are certain courtesies and kindnesses that should be extended in all scenarios and across all religions. And there are boundaries that should be placed when it comes to expressing belief. Thanks to freedom, everyone has their own idea of what boundaries and courtesies should be placed and utilized. Unfortunately people tend to take things to the extreme, going so far as to sometimes call Christians haters when they express their beliefs.

It is my prayer that everyone will come to a place where they realize the difference between hate and disagreeing. It is okay to disagree with somebody as long as you do not become extreme to the point of hating them. At the core, it is a heart issue. If in your heart there is actual hate for those of (for example) homosexuals, then you do become qualified to be called a hater. However, since nobody but Jesus can actually see and know a person’s true heart, nobody should have the right to call someone else a hater.

The conclusion? Be selective about words. They are powerful and are often taken to the extreme.

There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.

G. K. Chesterton
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