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Pastor Granillo: Healing Hatred

on August 27, 2017 - 7:19am
By Pastor Raul Granillo
La Vista Church of the Nazarene
White Rock

All my friends are heathens, take it slow

Wait for them to ask you who you know

Please don't make any sudden moves

You don't know the half of the abuse – 21 Pilots, “Heathen”

Every person in this world has a narrative. We all have a story about who we are, where we came from, and what we have gone through to get to where we are. Each person would be rightfully hurt if another were to presume what their story was, or presume where they come from or what they have been through. Every person in this world has a narrative—it is the story, not just of them, but of the world they live in.

It should be frustrating. We should be frustrated by how much we pride ourselves in our own unique story but refuse to consider that the person right next to us has one of their own. Racism, for example, is an evil that is dependent upon rejecting the reality that another person has a story. In every form, it seeks to dehumanize another human being. When we allow that, we allow, not only that person to be reduced to nothing, but the world that they live in to dismissed as well.

Racism is not just against an individual. It is an attack upon the world because, although there are 7.5 billion of us here, all of our stories intersect. When we dehumanize through racism, we cannot help but dehumanize ourselves as well. Let me be clear. Racism, groups that are founded upon or teach racism, or attempts to defend racism, are all evil and incompatible with Biblical Christian message. The Christian’s responsibility is to make every attempt to end evils such as racism.

Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:16b-17 NIV).

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that we, those who claim to follow God, are to seek justice. The problem is we believe that punishment and revenge are justice. A life sentence or even the death penalty does not bring back the daughter of a grieving mother.

The Christian, the follower of God, is to rebuke the oppressor. It is disobedient and thus sinful to ignore or turn a blind eye to evil. The Christian must speak truth and rebuke that which is oppressive.

The Christian is to defend the cause of the fatherless. When there is no one to speak up for another, it is our responsibility to do so as if it were for our own child.

The Christian is to plead the case of the widow. We must let the world know why our brothers and sisters are being oppressed, and hurt, and marginalized.

Galatians 6:1 (NIV) Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

It is also important that the Christian recognize that punishment and retribution are never the goal. If they were then Christ died in vain. The goal is restoration. Restoration is single best way to end evil. True justice is found in restoration. You cannot threaten evil with death or suffering. After all, death and suffering are its goal. No, evil must be met with love that seeks to restore. This, however, is difficult. It is much easier and immediately satisfying to punish.

If your goal is to punish your enemy, then there is no need for restoration. If your goal is to end evil, then you must not allow yourself to be tempted to become evil, even an evil justified by the culture. Is it not better that the racist, or the murderer, or the rapist recognize that their actions are evil and choose to repent? Or do we really prefer that they continue hating as we put a needle in their arm or close the cell door behind them? What is our goal?

For the Christian, the goal must always be restoration. Restoration requires learning the narrative of the one who hates so that we can help them see the error in their ways. It means studying the path that led them to where they are. That means humanizing those who choose to dehumanize. How else can we hope for true restoration?

The individual’s story is always important, even when it belongs to those whom we want to hate.

If you have a Biblical question, comment, or concern, please feel free to email me at raul@lavistanaz.org. To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org. Follow Pastor Raul on Twitter @RaulGranillo007.


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