I hate this sign.
This sign is in the front yard of a couple of my neighbors and I really hate it. I hate it because it’s some kind of virtue signaling. I don’t want to assume motivations but it is safe to say the word ‘hate’ has recently become tragically coopted by the American left. These days it seems to refer to anyone who doesn’t espouse the same ideologies as the coastal elites. But mostly I hate it because it isn’t true.
The problem I have with this whole ‘hate’ conversation we’ve been having in public discourse lately is that ‘hate’ has been assigned to one side of the argument (the right) and ‘love’ has been assigned to the other (the left) and that is just a destructively dishonest characterization on both accounts.
It illustrates a woeful lack of understanding of human nature and the nature of hate.
We all have hate in our hearts and in our homes. Whether we voted for Hillary or Trump, believe in socialism or free markets, prefer dogs or cats it makes no difference. There is no home on this planet, not one anywhere that doesn’t house hate in some way, shape or form. Our political ideologies do not immunize us from hatefulness.
That is because hate is not an action or a type of speech. Hate is a condition of the heart, and the heart of man is wicked.
My neighbor may very well believe she does not allow hate in her home but that would be a terrible lie she tells herself. I would bet my prized “Bob and Doug McKenzie: The Great, White North” record that if we questioned her long enough we would find someone she truly hates. Maybe it’s the lady at the grocery store who uses checks but never bothers to pull out her checkbook until after the cashier gives her the total.
Maybe it’s our neighbor down the street who lets her dog poop on other people’s lawns and then refuses to pick it up because “it makes me gag.”
I’ll bet my Star Wars puzzle collection her kids have screamed “I hate you!” at least once inside the walls of that home.
Maybe she hates Trump voters or Republicans or Taylor Swift. Maybe she hates child abusers, her husband’s ex or her stepkids. Maybe she hates herself.
The point is, she hates something. Everyone does. It takes a special type of arrogance to believe that you and your household are incapable of hatred simply because you say so.
This is why the race conversation in America can never truly be held, at least not honestly. The root of racism isn’t white people or privilege or America…the root of racism is hate, and hate is just another word for sin. We are all sinners. Our hearts rebel against love and obedience from the moment we are born. Racism isn’t some special kind of sin, it is merely yet another symptom of our sinful nature.
Hang on to your pearls, because I’m about to take it to church for a minute.
This is why God must intervene before a statement such as the one on the sign can even begin to be true. The irreligious left loves to “challenge” the Judeo-Christian model of divinity by saying “God is love,” as if He is nothing else. They think “love” means the absence of hate, but that is not love at all. Love is a verb. It requires forward motion, deliberate action. It is so very easy to say, “I don’t hate anyone” but it is exponentially harder to say “I love everyone, even my enemies.” You can’t even begin to comprehend what it means to love everyone if you don’t understand the nature of Love.
That type of Love is not possible without the guidance, grace and mercy of a loving God who is also a wrathful God; a God who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to wipe away the consequence of our sin – death – and make a way for us to be near Him again.
He did not send His son to die only for Democrats or only for people who believe in gay marriage or only for pro-lifers. Christ came for sin, not virtue…and sin lives in every one of us. As He sacrificed to extend love and grace to us, so are we called to make the same sacrifice for each other. There is no sacrifice involved in only loving people who think like you do. There isn’t even a little bit of difficulty in that.
That sign is easy, and that’s why it’s there. My neighbor need not make any other gestures for everyone to know she hates hate. The sign is a cheap replacement for the only thing that can really combat hate – the active, deliberate application of the tolerant, deep, accepting Love of Christ for even the worst among us.
Even those dirty Trump voters.
Even that racist family member.
Even for you.