Lies from the "Father of Lies"
Labeling entire groups of people is the first step toward dehumanizing them, which somehow allows us to justify reprehensible acts toward people made in the image of God. This was behind slavery, the Jewish Holocaust, the Japanese internment, the near-extinction of the Native American people, the Rwandan genocide, and many other human tragedies, and it is the creed of extremist groups today.
My heart has grieved over the tragic shootings of black men in our country, and it grieves again over the execution of policemen. We saw the same kind of hatred in Orlando toward the LGBTQ community. Each one killed was a person with family and friends who now must grieve over their horrific loss.
The way of Jesus was so very different. He did not despise the Samaritan, the Roman soldier, the leper, or the prostitute. He loved them all enough to die for them. The Apostle Paul made a statement in Galatians 3 that was radical in its day and still sounds radical today:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).
Now more than ever, I call on all people who follow Christ to come together to celebrate and affirm the diversity of God’s people and the value of each and every human life. Let us never give in to the “father of lies” (John 8:44) who wants to foment hate and division.
Let us as Christians be a community that models indiscriminate love for our neighbors, regardless of their race, creed, gender, or socioeconomic status. Let us show the world that all people in Christ can model the love that overcomes the lies of the Evil One. And let us commit to praying for the families affected by violence and for our country in these troubling times.
This originally appeared in The Huffington Post, July 8, 2016.
Photo ©2013 World Vision, Jon Warren