(This post written in response to the 2016 riots in Charlotte NC)
I love you.
I forgive you.
Watching the news in Charlotte I can forgive the protesters in love. It’s what we teach and what I believe. Even the ones that do the “really bad” things. I’m ready for it and can do it almost without thinking. That’s not to say that I agree with their actions. I don’t. But, it’s not my role to shout them down or to correct them. We have police officers and now, it seems, the National Guard for that and they’re doing a bang up job of putting things to rights. I love them too; the defenders. I have prayed for both sides today and won’t stop.
Dealing with Christians in love though is harder for me. They should know better. I see the posts that have no love and I get frustrated. Most of the posts aren’t hateful; just angry and sad. The worst of them have no understanding, no forgiveness, no love. Anger almost invariably leads to sin and acting upon it doesn’t turn out well for anyone… that includes Facebook posts.
Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But 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.
That’s Jesus speaking. He says that anger puts your life in jeopardy and darkens your heart.
Mark 7:14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.
20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Again, these are the words of our Christ. I have seen so many of these the last couple of days: slander, pride, foolishness and anger among others. You’re supposed to be the good guys. You’re supposed to be acting in Christ. You’re supposed to be light unto those in darkness. You’re supposed to understand forgiveness. And love.
It frustrates me and makes me sad.
And… it should not. I should have the same love for you that I have for them. I should do it in the moment and see you as a child of Christ just as I see them. It took me a little longer. I’m sorry for that. I will try harder. Will you forgive me?
Those who love me know that I sometimes end conversations with these words, They have power:
I love you. I forgive you. Do better.