The Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Rome, pens some of the most direct instructions of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ when he writes, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good . . ..” I love these words that invite us to genuinely love each other. What strikes me as interesting is how these words that include, “hate what is evil,” can be construed to direct hate at others simply because who that are, or what they do is seen as an abomination.
If you are active on Facebook you have probably listened to the simply beautiful new arrangement of the song, “Mary, Did You Know” by singing group, Pentatonix.
What you may not have seen is an article by Todd Anderson, of Todd Anderson Ministries entitled “Christians Did You Know . . . You’re Being Played.” In the article Anderson calls his readers to question the performers and performance of the song because two of the singers, Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, are (yes, you guessed it) GAY! Anderson writes, “Now that you’ve seen the demonic (yes, homosexuality is demonic) side to the group, Pentatonix, it’s time to make a choice . . . Will you reject this demonic group, or will you allow Satan and his demons to find a place in our heart through their music?”
Really? So, tell me, how does this kind of ugliness follow the instructions of Paul? How does this kind of name calling and cursing others, who by-the-way are singing about the birth of the Christ Child, square with what it means to follow Jesus? Of course, Paul continues writing in Romans 12: 14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Which means, of course, that however angry Todd Anderson makes you and me, if we are going to truly follow in the way of Jesus it is incumbent upon us to pray for Anderson and in that way, bless him.
Of course, there is nothing easy about that, but no one ever said that following Jesus was easy. Our responsibility to truly live into our name “Christian,” is to be faithful in our following. That does not mean we stay silent and do not call this out, but it does me that in our “calling out” that we do not do what was done to us, we do not make Anderson a demon. After all, Anderson is also a Child of God.
And as we come to the end of this Advent season marked by the celebration of the birth of Jesus, whom we call our Christ, perhaps it would be better to turn our hearts and our actions toward the true work of love in the world instead of getting caught up in a debate about who is good and who is evil. Paul pointed the way, instructing us by writing, “No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink, . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12. 19 – 21)
Yes, this Christmas let our love be genuine.
Holy One, help me as I see to truly follow in the way of Jesus. Bless those who curse me and help me to be a blessing to those in need. This is my prayer as I await the birth of Christ in this holy season. Amen.