Today our news is filled with disturbing sights and sounds.
We are witnessing mobs of Americans imposing martial law on cities, people screaming obscenities at political opponents, and of elected officials calling for acts of violence. In the place of Christianity, a cult of hatred has arisen in America today.
And I weigh my words when I say this. It is a cult of hatred. For hatred is the only thing that binds its adherents together. To be a true follower, one must hate America, the Constitution, traditional values, and Christianity. Therefore, any display of patriotic feelings is condemned as fascism and xenophobia. To find acceptance from this cult we must confess that all our founding fathers were patriarchal, intolerant racists and that the U.S. Constitution is an outdated and oppressive document. To avoid being attacked by this group we must repudiate what was once universally accepted: that there are only two genders, that a marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that a life in the womb should be cherished and protected. Anyone who even suggests these things are so is subject to the most ruthless attacks.
Responding to Hatred
But the greatest hatred is reserved for those who follow a person named Jesus. And this is life’s greatest enigma—that such hatred and vilification should be launched against a person who taught that we should love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us, and do good to those who abuse us (Matt. 5:43–48).
Yet as disturbing as this hatred is, Jesus told us to expect it. He warned His followers that they would be hated on His account. But Jesus not only foretold the persecution which awaited His disciples.
He also cautioned them against being drawn into a fight with those who persecute them. “Do not resist the one who is evil, but if someone strikes you on your cheek, to the other to him also” (Matt. 5:39). To return evil for evil defeats the Christian’s purpose for existing—to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13–16). Christ calls us to conquer hatred with love, fear with faith, lies with the truth of the gospel, and hostility with peace (Rom. 12:14, 17–21). God is not in the habit of destroying His enemies, but making them His friends. And He calls us to be His true children by becoming peacemakers (Matt. 5:9, 44–48; Luke 6:35–36).
Don’t Return Evil With Evil
Returning evil for evil also allows the true enemy and instigator of hatred to go undetected and undefeated. The devil and his demons are the true enemies of the Christian believer—and of humanity. Our struggle is not with people and political opponents. It’s with the spiritual forces of wickedness (Eph. 6:10–12). We must recognize Satan for what he is—the father of lies and the murderer of men’s souls (John 8:44). His relentless pursuit is to poison our minds against God and against each other. Though he is powerless to strike out against God directly, Satan can hurt God by attacking the object of His love—humanity.
Satan accomplishes this most easily with those who do not believe he exists. Upon them he can cast a delusion and kindles within them a consuming hatred. He can convince them—all while they exhibit all the behavior and sentiments of a bigot—that they themselves are righteous, pure, and open-minded. Scripture tells us that the “god of this world” (Satan) is blinding the minds of those who are perishing (2 Cor. 4:4). This is why they can be so intensely intolerant of any other view but their own, yet preach tolerance to everyone else. But they are not our enemy. They are the mission field, the ones Jesus calls us to love and be a witness to.
Respond with Prayer
Satan and his demons are the real enemy and we must arm ourselves for battle against them. Instead of raising our voices in anger, we need to raise our voices to God in prayer—for God to pour out His grace and mercy upon us. We need to pray that the Spirit of God will breathe a revival across this land—to soften and melt our hearts and turn us to Him in faith and repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation. God can do this. God has the power to soften the hardest heart, to open blind eyes, and to shed the light of Jesus into our darkness.
The fate of our nation rests upon the church’s willingness to seek God with a sense of desperate urgency and pray for America’s salvation.
Almighty and merciful Father, we pray through Jesus Christ Your Son, that You will bless the United States of America with an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit. Breathe a revival across our land. By Your Holy Spirit turn our hearts to You, O God, in faith and repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation. Please take from our hearts the hatred which poisons us and distorts our thinking. Bring healing to our hearts and fill them you’re your love. Restore to our hearts and minds a sense of decency. Put in our hearts us a hunger and thirst for righteousness, but also an abhorrence of evil. Awaken our conscience, O Lord, and help us to see our desperate spiritual condition. Yet, also open our eyes to Your unfailing love. Save us, O God, for Jesus’ sake.
Dear Father, please do not allow the wicked and godless to rule over us. Do not let them set the moral climate for this country or choose the path for our nation. Raise up men and women of God to be our Presidents, Congressmen, Senators, Supreme Court Justices, Governors, and Mayors. Fill the ranks of leadership throughout our society with the godly and the righteous, we pray. Raise our nation to true greatness and use America as Your instrument of peace, truth, and justice throughout the world. Amen.