Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. (Genesis 9:6 ESV)
I watched the video of Saddam being hung. I can’t say that I was glad to have seen that. This isn’t to say that I wish he was still in power and such. Nor am I saying that he didn’t get what he deserved. But don’t we all deserve that kind of punishment? He was hung, if I recall, on grounds of human rights violations and the like.
As the quote at the top of my Xanga states, in part,
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel
Every time we ignore the plight of those around us and every time we choose to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the suffering going on in the world, we are guilty of violating someone’s basic human rights. We all deserve hanging, just as Saddam received.
I just can’t find myself rejoicing over this. According to The Bible (which we claim is the infallible, inerrant Word of God),
I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 18:32a ESV)
And if God does not find pleasure in someone’s death, than neither should we. It makes me sick to my stomach that we have become so cold and bitter toward our fellow man.
Of course, then there is the attitude of many towards those within the Emerging Church. Some who have no real knowledge of the people or the subject make sweeping claims about them that, upon careful scrutiny, are proven to be false. Not all Emergents deny absolute truth. Not all Emergents are gnostic. Not all Emergents dabble in pagan rituals to connect with God. If you really take the time to look, you find that most Emergents are no different than you.
Yet we are so full of hate.
To quote Derek Webb:
They’ll know us by the billboards that we make
Just turning God’s words to cheap clichés
Says “what part of murder don’t you understand?”
But we hate our fellow man
And point a finger at his grave
And, more importantly, to quote Jesus,
…I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:22 ESV)
And if insults send us to hell, I would hate to see the punishment for hating someone.
Hate is in direct defiance of the lifestlyle that Jesus commands. Even hatred for our enemies.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…(Matthew 5:43-45a ESV)
Verse 45, partially quoted above, goes on to say,
For [God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Coupling this idea with Jesus command of, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 ESV), which happen to be in the same context as each other, and the command to love other people extends far beyond other Christians and those who never do us any harm. It also extends to those who we have been conditioned to despise and those who strive to harm us and kill us. And if it goes that far, than it must include everyone in between.