Then this morning I saw the news about Jo Cox, a UK member of parliament shot and knifed on the street in her constituency by a middle aged white man shouting “Britain First”. Add this to Orlando and the other hate crimes of the self-entitled. Even here in New Zealand we have seen the vilification of New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd for the crime of suggesting “togetherness.”
What hits my heart is that this hatred and de-humanising of other people is seemingly a deliberate strategy by politicians and the media. Trump encouraging supporters to take a swing at protestors. The blatant demonising of immigrants in the UK and Australia. Deliberate re-writing of history in our schools. All of this lying and misrepresentation can begin to seem like “truth” the more we are exposed to it.
These false-truths are often what helps a person feel that they are entitled or required to kill another person. Simply because that person is “different,” that they are “not me.”
I decided to look into John and see what he tells us about Jesus’ approach to our fellow travellers and what is expected of us as Christians.
Last week I went on about being One with the Trinity and by implication with each other. In John 17:20-23,26, Jesus prays “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, … I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Well that’s reasonably clear – we have to love Christians. And that’s pretty easy because most christians are quite nice! But we can get caught out by (unwittingly!) defining the rest as “Non-Christian” and therefore not needing loving because they are not like us.
We get a new perspective when we observe the conversation between Peter and Jesus on the beach after Jesus had risen.
Jesus asks Peter “do you love me”, three times, and each time Peter responds of course I do. Jesus tells Peter to, “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep” Jesus is calling Peter forward as “The Good Shepherd”, he has been forgiven for his denial and is being sent out to continue Jesus’ mission of bringing fullness of life to the world through the breaking in of the rule of God. This is a mission to Humanity – Not just Christianity. It is God’s plan for the World, not just the elect.
And although I know this, there are still things I struggle with. The hard bit for me as a committed Christian is; I know that God loves Jo Cox (not a Christian but someone who still fought against slavery and poverty), but He also loves her killer!
He loves Donald Trump!
He loves me.
I don’t have any easy answer, we kind of just have to buckle down and get on with it. Fix what can be fixed, stand up for those who can’t stand on their own and love as well as we can. Cry with those we can do nothing for. Pray, pray and pray. Trust in the promises of Jesus that it is possible and it will all be fixed. The now and the not yet is a surprisingly frustrating place to live.