Answering hate with love

penny mulveyPENNY MULVEY

The Bible is our road map to know God. The Bible makes clear what God wants for God’s people and the kind of people we are called to be.

As I write this, our media is editorialising on the ramifications of the latest terrorist attack in Manchester, England. Tragically more than 20 people, including children and teenagers, were killed as they left a concert.

One of the ripple effects of such an event – a suicide bomber targeting families as they gather to enjoy a very special occasion – is a renewal of hate-filled letters, tweets, posts, talkback calls, opinion pieces – decrying Australia’s willingness to welcome refugees, people of Islamic faith, those with dark skin and who wear head scarves.

What is more disturbing is that some of those voices are people who profess to be Christian.

The Bible teaches us something different.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; for he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous,” Jesus said. (Matthew 6:44-45)

The prophet Micah tells us, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

And in the story of the Good Samaritan, when the lawyer asked Jesus who is his neighbour, he learned from the parable, that the answer was the one who showed mercy. (Luke 10:25-37)

Jesus constantly reinforced that Christians are called to love their neighbours as themselves (the second commandment, Matthew 23:39).

As our media told individual stories of heartache and loss stemming from the Manchester bombing, the news then reported the findings of a Pentagon investigation which had found that more than 100 civilians were killed after the US dropped a bomb on a building in Mosul, Iraq, in March.

It appears the bomb triggered secondary devices planted by ISIS which caused a building to collapse, killing those inside. What do we know of those 100 people? Do we weep for them?

We worship a God who loves the whole world, including our enemies.

What role do we have in speaking up for Muslim people living in Australia who are constantly on the receiving end of hate-speak? Have we forgotten that in God’s eyes, every life matters and is worthy of redemption?

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