Ask An Evangelical: Preaching Hatred
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Should evangelists preach hatred?
In answer to our most recent Ask an Evangelical question — Should evangelists preach hatred? — when it comes to some topics, absolutely not, but on others, most definitely.
If the hatred our questioner is referring to is hatred of a person, then NO, evangelists should not preach on hatred. All Christians are to love everyone, regardless of color, sex, religion, values, beliefs, behavior, and any other potentially divisive difference. But just because we must love all, it doesn’t mean we can’t hate things they do.
Bullying, child abuse, sexual assault, and many other actions, are probably close to being universally identified as hurtful to society and inappropriate, and in some cases, criminal. Is it wrong to hate these types of behaviors? I don’t think so and I’m not sure many others would disagree with my conclusion.
However, actions such as homosexuality, pre-marital sex, and abortion, though believed by some to be in the category of the previously mentioned activities, also have the backing of many as behaviors that are healthy, acceptable, and needed in our culture.
From an experience several years ago, that I feared would capsize my life, I think evangelists would do more good if they taught what loving a person, who is often hated for their life choices, looks like.
I was working for a stock brokerage and was an assistant to two agents. The one I remember was a lesbian. Her spouse didn’t visit the office and we were too busy to talk about our lives much, so it wasn’t a big deal. Until the baby.
They decided to have a child and my boss’s partner was going to carry it. One day it struck me, with a great deal of force, that an upcoming childbirth and a baby shower pretty much went together and who better to invite than your office co-workers.
Fearing that I would get an invite to an event that never should have happened, in my mind, because the basic relationship went against the Bible, I couldn’t begin to figure out how I should respond to the ‘joy’ everyone would be experiencing at the party or even if I should go.
But isn’t love sharing in other’s happiness? Isn’t love about putting differences aside and being a good example? Isn’t love more than just praying for someone? Isn’t love being an active part of another’s life?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what love should look like in a situation like I’ve described, and I’m still not positive I have the answers. What I do deeply remember about that event was never getting an invitation. Was I upset at being passed over? NO WAY! My life got SO much easier as the time for the party and later the delivery arrived. It was such a freeing experience that when I think about it today, I still breathe a sigh of relief.
But maybe that’s not the right response either. Perhaps I should have, before today, taken some time to figure out what love would have looked like. Conceivably, there could be someone out there now who could help me with this. Know any evangelists who teach on what it looks like to love?
Scott McIntyre is glad his parents didn’t name him Vladimir or he’d be listed last on this page. While a long time California resident, he was the Oakland Spirituality Examiner for Examiner.com from 2011-12 and about the same time began blogging on several topics. The first, teaching Christians how to lovingly share their spiritual beliefs, emphasized skills that can benefit all forms of one-to-one interaction. He also writes on marriage, travel, downsizing, humor, and the motive behind people’s words and actions. After retiring in 2016, Scott embarked on some major ‘R & R’; Relocating and Rebranding. Following in his sister’s footsteps from the early 80’s, and later in the decade, his parent’s, Scott left the Golden State to become a Washingtonian in a small town just west of Spokane County.