Updated: May 21
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS INTENDED FOR A MATURE AUDIENCE
It’s Holy Week – the seven day stretch between Palm Sunday and Easter. Which means Christians around the world are celebrating the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
But not everyone is celebrating this week. Some are reminded of hurtful and hateful memories. And it’s something that needs to be addressed.
NOTE: This message is not meant to be divisive but
to unite us around the message of the Cross.
Years ago (before we were ever married or had children) my former mother-in-law stepped out of her house one night and let out a huge scream. Someone had littered her front yard with garden gnomes that had swastikas drawn on their bodies in red ink.
In gathering the heavy lawn ornaments, we saw that each one had a bullet shot between their eyes with fake blood dripping down their faces. The despicable “N” word was written on them along with the names of men that had been lynched.
It was terrifying. She barely slept that night. Neither did I in fear that whoever had done this would return.
For decades the swastika has been used to promote hate and instill fear. But it wasn’t always that way.
For centuries, the swastika represented peace and good will or fortune in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. To this day you can see door frames, windows and homes in India and other parts of Asia framed with the symbol.
But Adolf Hitler adopted the swastika as the emblem of the Nazi Party during the second World War era. The mark was used to imprison, torture and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people during the WW II and the Holocaust.
The swastika has also been used to promote racist and fascist propaganda. It’s been displayed at lynchings, house fires and marches. It’s still used in a hateful way to this day.
A sign that once represented peace has been perverted to the point that it incites riots.
Unknowingly, Christians carry another symbol that does the same thing…the Cross.
I know Hindus, Muslims and members of the LGBTQIA+ community that have suffered at the hands of Christians. People have been spat on, doused in urine, beaten and murdered all in the name of Christ. Unfortunately, I know individuals that have been preyed on, physically and/or sexually abused within the walls of the church.
The church is not just offensive to them but a terror. And now they want nothing to do with God.
This is nothing short of disgraceful and a perversion.
The Bible is not a weapon meant to beat people over the head with.
And the message of the Cross is not meant to exclude those
who don’t behave the way we believe they should. But one where
Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price, with His arms stretched open wide,
welcoming all those who seek Him.
The Gospel is Good News. The Gospel is for everyone. The Gospel is for you and me.
And I’d like to take this time to personally apologize to anyone that has received anything less than love in the name of Christ.
Name calling, ridicule and violence don’t come from God. God does not hate you. He loves you. He sees you and cares for you. He sent His one and only Son to die for you. He desires to be in community and close relationship with you.
For any Christian that disagrees, I welcome a discussion.
In the meantime, I urge you to stop spreading a message of negativity. We have been called to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NIV). I don’t know a single person attracted to Christ by way of hate.
Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Christ, Himself, addressed the people along with the Pharisees by saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” in John Chapter 8:12, NIV.
This Easter season, pledge to end hate.
Let’s agree to showcase the Cross in the positive and glorious light that it is. One that draws people out of the darkness and to the God who saves.
When all else fails, let’s just agree to be loving and descent human beings.
· Messy Grace – Caleb Kaltenbach