Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Saturday night I had a hard time sleeping. So at around midnight, I went to the living room and turned on the television. I flipped through the channels and came across a television program I believe was called “Investigation”; real life stories of murder.
If you are ever having a hard time falling asleep I do not recommend watching this program, especially around midnight. I was scared out of my mind. But I couldn’t help myself. I was shocked at what I was watching. In one episode a man went to great lengths to kill his wife. He even shot himself four times to make it look like an intruder had done the deadly deed. In another episode, a man killed his neighbor and then called 9-1-1 to make it appear as though a stranger had done it. How could they do such things? After watching over an hour of this program, it dawned on me that these individuals were driven not so much by selfish motives but by self-confidence. All of them really believed that they could do it and get away with it. They were all wrong.
In my twenty years as a religious, I have heard a lot of stories. Some of them unique, but most are the same. The names change, but the sad stories are always the same. Too often from teenagers they speak of their young love gone surprisingly bad. “I thought he loved me. I thought I was the only one. I thought I was special. I thought he was different.” From adults who are married, they use century old excuses to mask/justify their infidelities. “Gradually, we grew apart. I never loved her/him. She/he worked too much. It really started off innocently…” Infidelity never starts off innocently. Never! That’s as old as an old wives tale. Broken vows, like broken commandments, are a symptom of over-confidence.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” The truth of the matter is this. I must ground, root, connect and attach myself to the Lord at all times. The moment I break one of His commandments I dig up the ground, I tear a root, I disconnect, I detach. And now, I am completely on my own. This is what confidence does to us: it gives us a false sense of security. And that is dangerous. It is dangerous because of an overlooked truth: I will never know anyone very well in my lifetime. I will never know someone as well as I know myself. And I don’t even know myself that well. The only person I will ever know very well in my life is the Lord. In fact, I know everything about him. What he said and what he did because what he said he did. If someone were to ask me who Jesus is, I would say: “He is the one who never breaks his promises.” That says it all. What else is there to know?
Whoever loves me keeps my word. I hate to bring this up, again, but I am reminded of Dan Savage, the homosexual activist and Christian bully. I am still reflecting on his anti-Christian tantrum of a week ago. What I find most disturbing about the whole affair is something that no one seems to have noticed or even thought about. As you know, it was reported that many young Christians had the courage to get up and leave. But apparently no atheist got up and walked out of his talk. To the best of my knowledge, no homosexual group or atheist lobby was disturbed at what he said and how he said it. Why? Because the truth of the matter is far too many secularists and atheists are religious bullies. When they talk, they can’t seem to talk about who they love but rather who they hate. When Christians speak, they speak about who they love and what they hate. A-theists, by definition, are not for someone. Actually, they are against someone, and in this case, they are against God. Christians, on the other hand, by definition, are for someone, they are for Christ, for God and man. In fact, Christ is God and man. No wonder why a follower of Jesus will never use foul language or slurs to describe someone, not even their enemy. If they attack, then they attack an issue, not a person. If they need to defend themselves or someone else then they will do so, even forcefully. But if they need not to, then they will walk away.
Again, I am saddened to think that not a single atheist or homosexual walked out on Savage’s talk. I am saddened to know that only Christians are truly against bullying. How disappointing. Of course, I would not expect an atheist to walk out on an anti-Christian speaker, but I would have hoped they would have walked out on a bully! After all, he wasn’t speaking against Christians as much as he was speaking like a bully.
I know for a fact, that if a “Christian” speaker got up on the platform and spewed out vulgarities and slurs against homosexuals or atheists, then not a few atheists and homosexuals would have thrown slurs right back at him, or thrown chairs right at his back, or, at best, walked out of the room. But what would most of the Christians, sitting in the audience, have done? I know. They would have gladly joined forces and walked out of the room, just like they have done for centuries.
Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory (Ps 115: 1). Paul was scandalized and tore his garments when the pagans wanted to worship him as a god. Bullies just can’t seem to leave people alone. They seek attention and get it by making others feel stupid or ignorant. I guess if you don’t have someone to love, then you have to look for someone to hate. That explains the anti-Christmas campaigns and posters during the Christmas season by some well known atheist organizations. That may explain the year-round antagonism by a few atheists against Christians in the workplace. Atheists, like bullies, just can’t seem to direct their energy towards what they believe and how they can love. Love requires humility. Far too many atheists exude confidence in themselves. Christians exude confidence in Jesus Christ. They do not seek to make a name for themselves; they seek to make disciples in the name of the Lord. Their motto is simple: “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.” A Christian has the ability to love others and hate himself. A bully seems to do the opposite. A Christian does not have an obligation to agree with everyone, but he does have an obligation to love everyone. I’m not sure what obligation an atheist has, but it would appear as though it is to ruin someone’s day.
Christians do a pretty good job reminding each other that we need to forgive. It’s a good way to keep us from shifting to the other side. To end bullying requires a shift in confidence; a shift from confidence in oneself to confidence in the Lord. To end bullying requires a shift in love; a shift from love for oneself to love for others. To end bullying requires a shift in tactics; a shift from attacking people to attacking ideas.