Hatefulness in the name of God is still hatefulness and is not “of God”

God does not hate. He doesn’t. God only loves us. All his actions are out of love.

Hatred, no that’s human.

Christ loved those who crucified and mocked him. Those who spat on him and scourged him.

A friend of my husband’s sent me a message a while back on facebook about a person who had been a mutual friend of hers and my husband. I say “had” because she no longer chose to associate with him. And that was what she was messaging me about. She was upset and frustrated and then felt like a terrible person because she just could not deal with one more moment of his hatred which he cleverly chose to disguise in his evangelical Christianity.

And from the status updates and messages I got from him in the brief time we were acquainted, I’m not sure he loved anything but boy he surely did hate quite a bit. Let’s see there were gays and lesbians (their very existence, let’s not even wade into the current cases before the SCOTUS), foreigners–even those here legally (ironic because he married one, brought her to the US and then moved to her country because she couldn’t get work here), the poor, and Catholics (I’m leaving a lot out, quite a lot btw). Oh how he hates some Catholics. And he would try to be nice and friendly to me while sliding in some barb about, “It sure would be nice if I could talk to you like this in heaven.” (Oh his wife and in-laws are Catholic and he lives in a predominantly Catholic country now. There’s some irony for you.)

I live in the South, you see, so this kind of thing is not at all unusual to me. This is the land of the “Bless Your Heart” passive-aggression. If you’ve never heard of that southern novelist Lee Smith says it means you can say any ugly thing you like as long as you follow it up with, “Bless Your Heart!” Her favorite example, “Oh she’s SO overweight, bless her heart.” I dislike it, yes, but it’s not unusual, particularly when you consider the places my husband grew up and the people he grew up around, well, it’s downright commonplace.

This guy can quote you a Bible verse, any verse, in his sleep. But memorization doesn’t count for actually reading the good book. It doesn’t mean he learned that God is merciful. And God gives us His mercy and forgiveness if we ask even though we so do not deserve any of it. I’m pretty sure he memorized without reading the entire Gospel of Matthew. Particularly Jesus talking about the end times and how we are supposed to minister to those who are poor, hungry, sick and inprisoned…and not just the ones we like or the ones we know or the ones who are “good.”

What I told the woman who contacted me is that she should not feel guilty about no longer associating with him as numerous attempts by herself, myself and others had shown me his heart is simply not open to truth. I cannot tell you how many times I attempted to gently educate him on Mary, the saints and the power of intercessory prayer that resulted in him plugging his ears and merely singing loudly, “LA, LA, LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” No longer speaking or facebooking with someone does not mean you don’t still think about and pray for this person. And prayer means loving them. Sometimes we have to do as Elizabeth Esther’s priest suggested to her in Confession when she was complaining about a fight she and her husband had about Catholicism“You’re trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work…This is not your job.” The only one who can teach this person that God is love (also in the Bible 1 John 4:8) and not hatred is God himself. The Holy Spirit has to move his heart to realize that He never preached or taught hatred but rather commands us to love (John 13:34). Hatred is not of God at all. And to hate another in God’s name is to turn one’s back on Christ crucified in a most shameful manner. And to ignore the fact that He rose for ALL our sins. Because God is not fair, God is merciful and we could learn quite a bit about love when we stop to consider that.