Sunday, 17 March 2019

O God, We Grieve the Hatred

Copyright 2019 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. Used by permission.
https://www.carolynshymns.com carolynshymns@gmail.com
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
(1 John 4:8)

My son shared this hymn with me which I thought both beautiful and timely. It comes on the heels of the recent New Zealand terrorist attack in which many Muslims were gunned down and killed as they worshiped and prayed.

Unfortunately there is a plethora of other global terrorist activities in our recent history as well. The media is currently also reporting of Nigerian Christians being massacred in great numbers by extremists. One doesn't need to look very hard to find it. Extremists spewing forth their hatred are alive and well; religious and non-religious alike sharing in this common depravity. Even in the name of Christianity we have historically let our propensity for pseudo-love (aka., hatred) show the world that we too desperately need a Saviour to change our hearts. Oh God, have mercy! Hatred is nothing new; mankind has known it since virtually the beginning of time. The second generation from Adam already knew it when Cain killed his brother Abel in cold blood (Genesis 4:8). Today man's inhumanity toward fellow man continues.

O God, We Grieve the Hatred!

So what do we do about it? Is there any hope for us? Why does it seem that God is silent? Will this circle of hate ever end? If we were betting on it, the odds would seem to be stacked against it. Yet hope remains because "God is love." None of this has escaped His notice either. We may not understand why He permits horrible things like this to happen, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't grieve over our inherited tendency towards hating each other. Even Jesus wept at the death of a friend (John 11:35). God does care.

Call me utopian if you will, but I think there has always been that flicker of light and hope in this dark world, and that light is none other than you and me made possible in Jesus. All it takes is for one person to let their light shine (Matthew 5:16), and then for another person to do likewise, and then another, and then another … well, you get the point. One little candle, doubled, and then doubled again, can soon set a whole forest on fire. One genuine act of love can work toward disarming hate by spreading to another and becoming two acts of love; then four, eight, sixteen, etc. Simplistic? Yes. Utopian? Maybe. Impossible? No. I guess the only question is, do we want it? Do we really want it? If so, then what are we waiting for? To borrow that overused clich√©, "What Would Jesus Do?" Short answer: LOVE, despite the hate and regardless of like faith or not, LOVE one another.

Love begins with you and me. As John Lennon once sang, "War is Over (If You Want It)" By extension, hate is over, if we want it. Do we want it? Again, it all begins with you and me.

Something to think about. Peace.
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POSTSCRIPT: A very special "Thank You" to Carolyn Gillette for permission to share her beautiful and most timely hymn. You may want to visit Carolyn on Facebook.

As I pondered the question of where is God in all this, and why does He seem so silent, my dear wife, who also has the gift of a timely word, shared this song with me from one of our all-time favourite artists, Andrew Peterson. I leave you with this, my friends. May it be a blessing.

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