I saw an interesting bumper sticker yesterday on the way to work. It read, "I am for the separation of Church & Hate."
Now, I'm not much on bumper sticker theology, but that statement gripped me. I wrestled with it overnight and here's what I've come up with...
At first, I applauded internally. I thought, rather smugly, of how true that is. The church SHOULD be called on the carpet for tolerating hate. They hide behind phrases like, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner," all the while casting stones at just about everyone, from abortionists to drugatics to homosexuals. I thought to myself, "I'll write a good blog about this when I get to work."
Then, the truth hit me. I AM THE CHURCH!!!
So I chewed on it a little while longer.
Today, I've been thinking about the residue of hate in my own life and how it has produced prejudice, bitterness, jealousy and the like. Heck, just yesterday I called my own wife a "jackass." That's right. I said it. I've been letting petty things about her bug me so bad that not only have I not loved her much, I haven't liked her much either. This is my wife, for pete's sake!
I've carried a piss-poor attitude around for more than a week. I've thought to myself things like, "He's such an idiot. I wish he'd just shut up!" or "She is so stupid. Why can't she listen?" These are things I've thought about other human beings, created in the image of God. Is that not sickening?
So when I think that the Church ought to divorce itself from hate, I'm left with a strong sense of guilt about my own thoughts and actions. Gee, thanks bumper sticker writer! Idiot...just kidding.