The following e-mail exchange took place last week between me and another. Here is the extent of the correspondence. My comments will follow. The actual e-mails are given in bold font except for the removal of a couple of sentences. These removals are noted by the ellipses (…) and were deleted to preserve the anonymity of the e-mail author.
First, the note I received from the unnamed party:
you know I have to say, I've never met a minister, pastor, priest, "man of God" who spewed some much hate and dissension against others as I have with you. … You have indirectly taught me that religion is nothing more than a means to spread hate, point fingers, belittle others, start wars, call for deaths, and eliminate or otherwise ostracize those people who do not believe what we believe.
What happen to loving, caring, and helping. Big deal that you travel to another state to build a house or clean a yard. What about your neighbors and what would some of those people say/think whom you are "helping" if they knew about these hateful, etc comments you make.
I don't want anything to do with the hate that goes around this country/world. I want only to help others regardless of their political, religious, sexual views. That is why I was put on this earth...to bring people together and help them realize their full potential so they can go out and help others as a method of "paying it forward."
No need to respond. I'm sure whatever you have to say will simply be a means to "prove me wrong" to maintain your self worth.
I'm not buying it...
To this note I responded with a 2 sentence note. Here is the first sentence of my reply. The second sentence has been omitted, again, to protect the identity of the other party.
I am sorry you feel that way towards my faith and me personally. …
The unnamed author replied to my reply with the following note:
… Its unfortunate but I can't be surrounded or involved with people who hate and spread these messages to others. There are many bad things and bad people in this world but there are so many good things going on out there and we should be focusing on those things and spreading those stories.
Why go to your death bed knowing that most of your life was spent tearing people a part and sharing the negative side of life, much of it as the "word of God" nonetheless!
That is absolutely not the obituary, eulogy, or legacy I would want to leave behind. You can say all the bad things you want about the political parties or religious organizations that you don't agree with but I would have to venture an educated guess that people such as our current president has done more good in the world than you will ever pass along. Hmmm, something to think about.
I suspect my following comments on this e-mail will never be read by the original author. He has closed his mind to anything I might have to say. Even worse than that, it appears he has closed his mind and heart to the words of the Lord.
But I don’t want those who read this post to spend their time trying to determine who wrote the 2 e-mails. What I want folks to focus on are the words used and what I believe to be the underlying cause for such an attitude. It is not the first time I have encountered such attitudes and I fear the feelings expressed in these exchanges are ever increasing in our nation.
I will limit myself to only a couple of observations. Before I do, however, I need to make a brief personal statement.
Bruce Walker is a sinner, a man conceived in sin and quite flawed. The Lord Jesus Christ dealt with my sin at Calvary and, almost 40 years ago, changed me completely by giving me a rebirth through His Spirit. But, I still sin and will continue to do so. Perhaps I have sinned and committed an offense against someone which prompted these notes. If the author will point out such a sin, I will repent to our Lord and apologize to those against whom I have sinned. But to simply say I “spew” hatred and cause dissension tells me nothing. Even Jesus brought division as he noted in Matthew 10:34-35:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Now on to a few observations.
1. The hate used in these e-mails far surpasses any alleged “hate” I may have used.
The unnamed source makes it very clear he believes things I have said (possibly done) are hateful and cause dissension. What specifically have I said? Since he has not stated his reasons for his conclusion, I must speculate he is unhappy with some of my previous posts on Facebook, blogs, and/or e-mail.
In some I have vigorously defended the Word of God against many of the sins of modern society. I have spoken out against abortion, homosexuality, and other similar sins. I have pointed out what the Bible clearly says about them and the danger facing the individual engaged in them. My intent is to point out the sin and call the sinner to repentance and faith. Apart from turning to Christ, such sinners are doomed to an eternity in Hell. Which is more hateful: not to call out sin and permit the person to continue his march to damnation or to call out the sinner and offer him hope? Many people, such as the e-mail author , believe the world would be better off if folks were left alone and never “offended”. To “offend” them by pointing out their sin is hateful, they believe, and causes dissension.
I have also written against the false view of religious equivalency (i.e., all religions are of equal value and importance). Jesus is very clear that He and He alone is the only way to Heaven. The Muslims are on the wrong path. The Jews are on the wrong path. The Buddhists are on the wrong path. Even the atheists are on the wrong path. Again, which is more hateful: to allow those on the wrong path to continue down that path to their eternal destruction or to point out Jesus’ claim and offer them the true Gospel, namely, the right path to God?
Furthermore, many people believe such religious opinions do nothing but cause dissension. Therefore, to say such things like “Jesus is the only way to salvation” is hateful. Such language should never been used. Better never to discuss religion than to hurt someone’s feelings or to challenge their faith.
Finally, in some posts I have spoken out against the government. I admit the current administration has been a target of many of my posts and they have not been favorable ones. But why do I write in opposition of the government’s actions? Is it because I hate our politicians, especially our President? Absolutely not. This administration, in my opinion, is systematically destroying our nation. They are supporting policies which are contrary to the Word of God (e.g., abortion, homosexuality, and others). Therefore, I will write against any such politician whether they are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Socialist.
But the folks who have the mindset of this unnamed writer do not believe I should dissent with our leaders. Such dissent causes further divisions and promotes hate. Really? Do my remarks concerning our President promote hatred or another point of view which disagrees with those who pronounce my words as hate speech? I am certainly glad no one in our nation has ever dissented against the government before. If they had, we may have seen a Revolutionary War. Oh, that’s right; we DID have such a revolution because our Founders dissented against Great Britain.
The mindset revealed by our unnamed author is naïve at best. Some think the world will be better if no one ever points out the “faults” (read sins) of others or disagrees with anyone else. “Can’t we all just get along?” they ask. To speak out against them or their opinions is to spew hatred and sow the seeds of dissension. Well, I call the author back to his own words:
- “I don't want anything to do with the hate that goes around this country/world…”
- “That is why I was put on this earth...to bring people together…”
- “Its unfortunate but I can't be surrounded or involved with people who hate and spread these messages to others…”
Yet our unnamed author believes he was put on the earth to bring people together. He can’t be involved with the hate in the world. I would challenge the author and anyone else who shares his opinions to look at themselves in the mirror and reread the words I received. Where is the real hatred? Nothing I have ever written is as hateful as these e-mails.
2. The hatred expressed has its source in “religion”.
“You have indirectly taught me that religion is nothing more than a means to spread hate, point fingers, belittle others, start wars, call for deaths, and eliminate or otherwise ostracize those people who do not believe what we believe.”
I am not sure when I started wars, called for anyone’s death, or eliminated those who do not share my beliefs. I don’t believe I have spread hate or belittled others. I admit to pointing fingers but I have tried to point those fingers at the sins of men.
Many in our society these days are like my e-mail writer. They hate religion. They believe religion, ultimately, is the root of the evil in the world. Perhaps he believes if we could just stuff a sock in the mouths of those who believe in God, the world will see less hatred, less dissension, less war, less of all kinds of evil. They don’t buy into religion and believe folks who talk about religion, at least in a way which calls sinners to repentance, are spewing hate and dissension.
I truly believe the underlying causes for the venom released by this anonymous author is his hatred of religion, even God. Any “God” who condemns certain actions of others is “bad”, at least if the servants of that “God” point out that condemnation. Individuals who share this belief have a naïve worldview which believes if people would never say nor do anything which would make someone else feel badly then everything in the world would be ok. Of course, true religion and a true understanding of God will NOT yield such a result. Therefore, they do not like anyone who speaks the truth of God.
3. The hatred expressed in these e-mails is indicative of a truly closed mind.
As my friend has written:
“No need to respond. I'm sure whatever you have to say will simply be a means to ‘prove me wrong’ to maintain your self worth.”
I’m told not to write back because anything I try to say would merely be an attempt to prove the author is wrong. By doing so, I somehow “maintain” my self worth. Very clever! The only options left are: (1) say nothing or (2) agree with the author completely.
Well I completely DISAGREE with the author and those who share his philosophy of life. So that rules out option (2). I must confess I did consider option (1). However, the more I reflected on what to do, the more I realized the writer was attacking my faith and, therefore, my Lord. Option (1) must also be dismissed.
Well, my friend, I am not trying to prove you wrong. You are wrong. You are wrong in your statements concerning my character. You are wrong in your assessment of my heart. You are wrong in your approach towards life. You are wrong in the hatred you carry in your heart towards any who minister for Christ and disagree with you. While I am certain you will never listen (or even read) what I have written, my prayer is others who share your misguided approach to life will and come to grips with the sin in their own life: PRIDE.
I will admit I have no “self worth”. I, like all men, including you am a sinner. One of the famous hymns often sung in church refers to a person as a “worm”. That’s how I view myself; a lowly worm worth absolutely nothing.
But I have repented of my sins and put my faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of my soul. He HAS saved me. He is using me. And, based on his Word, I am worth everything because I am a joint heir with Christ who inherits everything!
I don’t have to maintain my self worth. Christ is handling that.
If you wish to discuss this matter further, I will listen (unlike you). If you would like Scripture to support anything I have written here or elsewhere, I will be delighted to provide them.