Have Love not Hate

Have Love not Hate
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
July 17th, 2016
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Have Love not Hate
The world is in Bad Shape…people are killing each other, hate is running rampant, and entitlement is out of control. No one seems to have any respect for anybody else…it’s all about me and mine and what am I going to get or what am I not getting.

When I started working on this message, the most recent tragedy was the sniper style shooting of 5 Dallas police officers that happened, by the way, during a protest over other shootings.  That happened just 10 days before I was to preach this message.  However, by the time Sunday came and I was preaching this message this was no longer the most recent tragedy.  Just 3 days before I brought this message to the church, a man killed over 80 people in France with a truck and a gun.  And yet, this still wasn’t the latest tragedy!  Just that morning, 3 police officers were killed in an ambush in Baton Rouge, LA.

So today we are going to talk about how we as Christians should respond and what we should be doing in these end times.

Now I realize, that probably all of you reading this blog probably, denounce all of the violence, hate, racism that is going on…and least I hope we do.  And that by in large, we have no intention of doing anything that would promote such things.  We are after all Christians right?

And as Christians we are told in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

We’ve all heard it…be in the world not of the world…
So how do we do this?

1. Have Love not Hate.
The first thing we need to remember we need to Have Love not Hate.

I Corinthians 13:13
“Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”

There seems to be no truer statement today.  In this world full of hate, killing and destruction there seems to only be 3 things that we can hold on to: faith, hope and love. But as this scripture states…Love is the greatest.  And yet it seems we live in a world where love is rare.

Last week, as I came home from my grandfather’s visitation and was preparing for my part in his funeral the next day, my heart was heavy with grief and sadness at the loss of a loved one and at the same time my heart was full from all of the stories I had heard that night about how my grandfather and grandmother loved and looked after so many people.

And as my heart was full of these emotions, I turned on the news.  That was the night the shooting happened in Dallas and it was at this moment that I had a thought.  And because of the stories of love that were shared at my grandfather’s visitation, this thought could not be any clearer than it was in that moment.  The thought that ran through my mind, as I was reading about this shooting, was: what a waste of time it is to hate somebody.

I mean really…what a waste of time and energy…What does it accomplish?  Nothing…Who does it help?  No one…Does it bring you joy? No…not even a little bit…

Love is worthwhile, Hate is a huge waste of time…

I think I Corinthians 13:2 says it best.
“if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.”

If I do not have love…I am NOTHING!!!

Here is the thing, in this world today, we need to have love not hate.  And I don’t even mean we need to have mostly love with just a little side of hate.  I mean we need to have nothing but love and not
not even a little bit of hate.

Now I’m sure that many of you would tell me that you don’t hate anybody.  But again, I believe this is a slippery slope.  When you watch TV, and see all that is happening, do you hate that gunman just a little…or when you see you a politician making empty statements on TV, does it boil your blood?

When you see and hear all of these things, you cannot allow…you cannot afford to let it stir hatred in your heart.  (that doesn’t mean you have to love everything you see…but it cannot stir hatred)

We cannot afford to let these things get us flustered…we cannot afford to let this get us off track…Hate and hatred is a HUGE waste of time and energy… and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have time and energy to spare, so I better not be wasting any of it.

We have to love…we cannot hate…not even a little…

2. Be good not Evil 
What is evil, what is good?  I tried to find this answer on the internet but as I searched I found many different answers.  So I thought of two situations…one example of pure evil and the other of pure love.

The two examples would be Hitler and Nazi Germany (the Evil) …and the good was Jesus Christ dying on the cross…and here is the conclusion I came to. (Now this is not…the end all be all definition, but today it what we want to concentrate on).

Good…is when the few make voluntary sacrifices for the benefit of many 
Evil…The forced sacrifice of many for the benefit of a few

How does this translate to us?  Being good vs evil is the difference between having an outward focus vs an inward focus.  It’s the difference between asking yourself, “What I can I do for them?” vs “What can they do for me?”

John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”

Giving your life for someone is the greatest sacrifice you could give and therefore shows great love.  This is the type of love that Jesus had for us.  But I’m not asking that we die for one another, instead, the principle at work here is that we love one another through sacrifice.

We give so that others who are in need might have…THIS IS GOOD….

But This is not what the world will tell you right now…This is not the principle that is driving all that is happening in the world right now.    The driving principle behind what we are seeing in the news right now is - It’s all about me and mine…It’s all about what I’m not getting…It’s how much you have hurt me.  

Instead we all need to have the mindset of - It’s all about you… what can I do for you… How can I serve you… what do you need and how can I help.  How can the few (Christians of the world) make sacrifices for the many.

3. Spread the good news 

Mark 16:15
Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

The word Gospel literally means “Good News.” And so the command here is to preach the good news.  And when Jesus came to this world 2000 years ago, the world was in desperate need of some good news…Corruption, greed, selfishness, EVIL was rampant… And when Jesus came, it was like a breath of fresh air.  Finally, some good news.  Finally, something they could hope in, trust in.

And today is no different.  Our world could use a little bit of good news, and our news could use a little breath of fresh air.  All of the promises of God we are talking about this summer are good news, because it means we can rely on God to provide all of these things for us…instead of relying on a world that has seemingly lost control.

And this is the good news we need to be sharing!

My questions for you today are…
Have you slipped down a slippery slope and find a little bit of hate in your heart?
Have you been doing good or are you being selfish?
Are you sharing the Good News and do you still have hope in the good news?

Let’s not contribute to the world’s problems, let’s contribute to the solutions.

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