Hating in the name of Jesus, Tire Swings and Bullycide–What is the gospel really about?


tire swing 3

Tire swings.

Love those contraptions.  There is nothing like the thrill of whipping through the air on an old car tire.  

Of course, sometimes the rope breaks. Happened to me when I was a teenager. One minute I was high up in the air, laughing at all the folks held down by gravity. The next minute I lay flat on the ground wondering how I got there.

That’s what happened to me this afternoon. Now, I’m not talking about the whirl and twirl of homemade swings anymore.  

Imagine slamming into the cold hard face of reality.

It started with helping someone on a project for their class- basically about Bullycide. I know, it’s a sobering topic. No one wants to think that bullying could result in someone else taking their own life.

But, it happens.

What am I supposed to do, I wondered, just read about it and weep? I didn’t like that thought. So I googled the Church and Bullycide.

That’s when the rope broke.

I hit reality so fast, I just about lost my breath.  It happened when I  wandered onto a blog about a press conference at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward. The press conference was in response to the bullycide of 11 year old student Jaheem Herrera. The young boy had been a victim of anti-gay bullying even though he had not even expressed interest in this life style.

Now, before you start breathing fire and brimstone down my neck, I want you to listen to what Marissa Pendermine, Assistant Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church Atlanta, said at the conference.

“We have made it acceptable to hate some people,” she stated.

That’s what took my breath away. She was speaking to the church-

  • you and me,
  • brothers and sisters in Christ.

She was addressing  Christians who worship a loving God on Sunday morning but get downright hateful when it comes to certain subjects. There’s the big ones like homosexuality and politics. There’s the old festering matter of racism and there’s the everyday snubbing of people who are

  1. not presentable enough physically,
  2. too damaged emotionally
  3. or just plain too weird

to be fully welcomed into our community of love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Perhaps, that’s the problem.  We refuse to trust the wild ride that God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness will take us when we step out in faith.

Instead, we act surprised when we find ourselves holding hands with the darkness instead of spreading the light.

God loves people.

He has never asked us to hate anyone. Anywhere. Sure, He hates sin. Little sins that bug us. Big ones that threaten to destroy us. But, God loves us.

So stop  with the hating. The jokes about Gays. The snickering about people’s weight or appearance. The shunning of people of another race, culture, political view or religious denomination.

I’m not saying you should never stand up for what you believe. Just do it with grace, love and dignity.

Don’t hate people. Don’t hate in big ways. Don’t hate in little aren’t-I so-funny-when-I-make-fun-of-people ways. Guess what? It’s not funny. It’s cruel.

Think about it long and hard.

Do you really want to be a role model to this generation of cyberbullies, playground sociopaths and random losers who run around beating the crap of out people just for fun?

I don’t think so.

So “man” up to the faith in God that you claim to have. Don’t let your actions or  your words make it “acceptable to hate some people.”  The message of the Gospel is all about God’s love for a lost and dying world. 

Speak it.

Live it.

Love people every single chance you get.

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