- Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" Peter answered, "Yes."
- Jesus said to him, "then hunt down the lousy rats who did this to Me and make them pay for it!"
- Then Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" Peter said again, "Yes, Lord, I do."
- "Then track down everyone who doesn't believe in Me now and shake a finger in their nose and say, 'Sinner! You are going to hell!'"
- And a third time, Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?"
- Peter was getting grieved to hear this question again, and said, "Lord, You know all things: You know I love You."
- "Then seek out all things that you think offend God and march and protest and declare how much you HATE them in My Name!"
Of course, we know that's not what happened on the banks of Galilee after Jesus had returned from the grave. Jesus' instructions to Peter were, "feed My sheep". So why do some professing Christians act as though the scenario above were Jesus' instructions to us?
The latest perversion of the calling of Christ is found in an entry at a ministry called Dove World Outreach -- offering up 10 reasons to burn a Koran. A lovely response to that was posted by Christine Smith in the Bible Cafe for Women, pointing out that this notion does not further the Kingdom -- at least as far as bringing non-believers to Christ is concerned.
The sad thing is, so many Christians think the way to promote the faith is to declare fervently what they hate. I have a friend who's a very fervent believer and desperately wants to serve the Lord, but never misses a chance to forward emails with links to "Christian" websites that promote hatred -- hatred against abortion, gay marriage, Muslims, even President Obama (and are we not called to pray for our leaders, not disrespect them?).
We get so hung up in wanting to be like Jesus and kick over the tables in the temple that we forget a key question:
What did Jesus tell us to do?
He left us with one commandment: that we love one another.
He told us that people should see the glory of God through our works -- not through the things we don't like.
He told us to forgive our enemies, not try to bomb the living daylights out of them: otherwise, what makes us different from the Unsaved?
He told us not to call people names -- something I've previously written about.
He told us to offer the other cheek if someone hits us on the first one. He told us to give our coat to anyone who steals our sweater. He told us -- through the Proverbs -- to give our enemy food and water and so pour "coals of fire" upon their head: not to burn them with a guilt trip, but to release the Holy Spirit over the situation.
Look at it this way: people who offend God are condemned to Hell. We who have seen the Light are called to prevent that from happening. But can we do that if we talk and act just as hatefully as the people who oppose us? Our words, our actions, our very thinking, has to be so loving and bright and glorious that the darkness others walk in doesn't have a chance. Or put another way, we can't promote the Kingdom of Heaven if we keep making Hell look like a viable alternative?