I am one of those mothers who raised her children to not use the word hate. I was hoping to avoid that moment in middle school when one of them would yell ”I hate you!” at me. We use ”I don’t care for,” ”I don’t like,” etc. but ”hate” was on the bad-word list.
I recently completed a writing assignment on Ecclesiastes 3 where I had to affirm that there is a time for everything, even hate. After doing some research and praying for illumination, I realized that there are many things we should hate. Injustice. Prejudice. Evil. Abuse. Violence. Everything that opposes God.
I read something this morning on Twitter that I absolutely hated, and I don’t mind saying that. The question was asked, ”Who are your favorite women pastors, preachers, theologians, teachers, authors, etc.” A male pastor responded that actually, he preferred these women “hanged or burnt.” He later added ”or drowned.”
I realize that Twitterverse is full of ignorance, where cowards hide behind a wall and hurl hateful words under a guise of anonymity. This guy is so full of himself that he used his real name and the denomination he represents. His church eventually took down his hateful rhetoric, but his tweet had been screenshot and shared. I hope he loses his job. Some responders tried to defend him by explaining that this denomination was ”traditional.” Really? If you think that burning, hanging, and drowning women fit in with your tradition, I can’t help you.
Today’s Psalm comes at a good time for my heart. It reminds me that God is the ruler of everything, and he sits on a throne of righteousness and justice. There will be the burning of people, but it won’t be the women preachers. It will be the enemies of God on every side … and surely people who use their positions and pulpits to spew hatred that is antithetical to the Gospel will feel its heat, in due time.
Psalm 97 ( Common English Bible)
The Lord rules! Let the earth rejoice!
Let all the islands celebrate!
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround God.
His throne is built on righteousness and justice.
3 Fire proceeds before him,
burning up his enemies on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees it and trembles!
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of the whole world!
Famous commentator Charles Spurgeon reminds us that God is the great Way-Maker: “Men cannot move the hills, with difficulty do they climb them, with incredible toil do they pierce their way through their fastnesses, but it is not so with the Lord, his presence makes a clear pathway, obstacles disappear, a highway is made, and that not by his hand as though it cost him pains, but by his mere presence, for power goes forth from him with a word or a glance.” If you are facing an insurmountable mountain this morning, go to the One who can melt it like wax.
6 Heaven has proclaimed God’s righteousness,
and all nations have seen his glory.
7 All those who worship images,
those who are proud of idols,
are put to shame.
All gods bow down to the Lord!
8 Zion has heard and celebrates,
the towns of Judah rejoice,
because of your acts of justice, Lord,
9 because you, Lord, are the Most High
over all the earth,
because you are so superior to all other gods.
It was interesting to read the responses to the pastor’s tweet. Many encouraged others to speak out against his evil. While addressing the violence he advocated in his ”joke,” many people took this as an opportunity to speak out against prejudice and to promote the true Christian ideal of love, inclusivity, and justice.
10 Those of you who love the Lord, hate evil!
God guards the lives of his faithful ones,
delivering them from the power of the wicked.
While I hope this man is sanctioned for his words, I know that God is using this conversation to bring forth a justice of its own kind. The fact that his church removed the tweet gives me hope. Somebody is paying attention. Somebody is sowing a seed of righteousness that proclaims that this is not acceptable. Somebody is shining a light on his misogyny, and God will be his judge.
11 Light is planted like seed for the righteous person;
joy too for those whose heart is right.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, righteous ones!
Give thanks to his holy name!
This is good for us to remember today. We can rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. We can rest in knowing that God is bringing justice and healing in his wings. No matter what injury you have suffered, no matter what injustice you have received, God will make it right in the end. Give thanks to his holy name!
This reminded me of a visit I had with my pastor over 20 years ago. I had left my husband of 28 years, and it was not a pretty picture. I remember telling my pastor that I “hated” my ex, and I had never “hated” anyone before. In his calm soft-spoken voice, he said “Would a scripture verse help?” . Then he quoted, “there is a time to love and a time to hate”. And yes, it helped….
Love you, Sister. I can’t imagine how hard that period of your life was.