Image by Stewf via Flickr
I watched someone die today.
Image by .faramarz via Flickr
She was murdered.
Her death was captured on video and broadcast from Tehran on YouTube. She was shot during a protest of the Iranian presidential elections. The participation of women in the protests has earned the conflict between citizens and government the nickname “Lipstick Revolution.”
I confess, I haven’t kept up with the news very well in the past few weeks. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on over there. In an effort to keep myself informed about current events, I checked on some news stories on the Internet. I ended up on YouTube, of all places, watching unedited videos of riots and protests posted by Iranian citizens without government (or media) interference.
After the disturbing images disappeared from my screen, I was left with this thought: Will I see her in heaven? Did anyone ever share the gospel of Christ Jesus with her? Did she have an opportunity to know the One who loves her more than life? It wasn’t God who killed that young woman. Hatred killed her. Hatred given free rein.
And as I skim through the tweets on Twitter from fellow ministers and believers, and read the posts on Facebook, and clear my e-mail box of all the anti-Obama forwards sent by well-meaning friends and family, my heart trembles for my own nation, and for the body of Christ.
There’s a wave of hatred that’s been allowed to run rampant in the church, and in our nation. Hatred is hatred, whether it’s in Iran or in the United States. Hatred of illegal immigrants, Muslims or Democrats. Hatred for our president, and don’t even bring up the vice president! Hatred of gays, hatred of liberals or hatred of Republicans and fundamentalists. Name a cause, a tenet, a doctrine, an opinion, a position, a group… there’s someone out there ready to hold up a sign and start picketing against it.
If we aren’t careful, hatred will creep in and start killing us, too.
“But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”1 John 2:11