A fellow Christian, in a conversation I was reading today, mentioned how much of a struggle it is for her to want to offer grace to the racist. I loved her honesty in admitting that she really rather hated them. I think it’s the struggle we all face when we hear of someone promoting an ideology or a practice that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt to be morally repugnant. As I read I was struck with my own struggle to see people as image bearers. Here was my response to her (and follow the link for an amazing story about a man who embodies this.) I hope it encourages you to love the unlovable. ❤️
The best way to look at anyone who is so blinded by their sin and resultant ideologies is to yes, hate what they stand for but pray for compassion because ultimately they are lost and desperately in need of the grace of Jesus. How can we do this, have compassion on them, when we find ourselves hating them almost as much as they hate others? Honestly? We can’t. Unless and until we acknowledge (daily!) that I… me personally… I am by nature an object of wrath, bound for destruction and justly deserving God’s most fiery judgment. I am the one who, if the only sinner in the world, would be the culpable party for Christ’s necessary atoning death on the cross. I have a heart that naturally on its own rejects and reviles people made in God’s image. But I have been given mercy and grace beyond measure. If I don’t really believe that, I can’t possibly see myself on the same plane of humanity before God as the overt racist. I actually don’t believe I’m as bad or as needful of saving grace as he is… I actually think it takes a little more willpower and holding of his nose for God to accept that guy over me…
You see, there is this lie going around out there that hatred is only taught… that it can’t possibly originate within a normal person’s heart… someone bad must have put it there. This… this is actually a lie from the pit of hell. You and I were born in sin and by nature hate God. Yes, because of the fall of mankind we are in fact all prone to hate God, and thus hate those made in his image, instead living wholly unto ourselves.
3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Scripture is clear:
“Beloved, let us love one another. For everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. He that loves not knows not God for God is love. (I John 4:7-8)
The truth? No one naturally loves other sinners with the fierce grace that every sinner requires unless they have experienced the fierce love of God in the risen Jesus.
If you’ve ever read The Hiding Place (if you haven’t, you must by the way!!) you would hear Corrie’s confounded emotions when she hears her sweet sister Betsy, who would very soon die at the hands of their Nazi captors, exclaim how she felt so sad for these brutal killers. Betsy saw them with eyes of faith because she saw them as needing the same exact amount of Jesus (all of him!) that she herself needed.
That is how to love a racist.