What is Hate Speech?
In the last few years our media is pushing ideas of hate speech or phobias and even child abuse for terms and values for which my generation (I am a senior) took for granted and upheld. People are openly angry and aggressive in pushing these former ideals and values away. Marches and protests are being held. Our culture is becoming increasingly divided and polarised in so many ways. Churches too are taking sides in these arguments causing rifts and unsettledness within.
At one level it is hard to separate the Worlds view and God’s view – to remain faithful to Him and to grow in Him. Often for the Church to be heard in all the noise it needs to be culturally relevant while remaining true to God. Also, many in the church are calling for us to rise up, to get organised and shout back – but is that a worldly response or a Godly response? So how can we begin to navigate these times?
The Scriptures about “gentleness” are amongst those that I have held close since my teens.
1 Peter 3:14-16 NIV
14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Galatians 5:22-24 NIV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
I have been accused over my life of “having no backbone to be a manager”, of “avoiding conflict”, of “not resolving difficulties”. And at times I have been perceived as being aggressive and told “that is not very Christian of you” which in turns lets me see how I have robbed myself and my accusers from receiving the fruit of the Spirit. Hopefully the mature Christian knows the overwhelmingly love of God and that when we exercise ‘gentleness’ we are reflecting a little of that great love back to our accusers rather than being known for our Hate Speech. And in turn that the fruit of the Spirit may be both received seen within me.
Perhaps this is how God wants us to be more than any other version of ourselves. Practitioners of Gentleness and not Hate Speech.
December 18, 2020
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