This week I have been considering the message of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) as they apply to this Sunday’s readings. One core message of the readings this Sunday is a removing of burdens and unifying the Body of Christ. I, like Mahatma Ghandi, find myself in love with Christ: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Dr. King pointed to this same truth when he said, “Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.”
So many Christians today lay on heavy burdens of hate upon the faithful. They are so willing to teach from their pulpits that God hate this person or that person for very arbitrary and unscriptural reasons. Lately, I have been told over and over again that God hates me because “Being fat is a sin” or “supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is a sin”.
And there are always those that quote Dr. King who at the same time demean, tear down, abuse, and malign people at the same time. They pay lip service to the message of the Gospel, claim to be victims when called on their bad behavior, and work to destroy the ministries of any one they view as less than themselves. Dr. King refused to behave in such a manor but rather relied on the message of the Gospel to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
Our mission on this earth is to live out the message of Love, Peace, Kindness, and Goodness. We are called to treat others in the same way we want to be treated. We are called to break apart the burdens of others rather than pile on heavier burdens. We are called to free the captive and to proclaim a year of peace to the world.
If those you are following are preaching hate against others, tearing down their work to make our world a better place, lying about others to damage their reputations and lives, or trying to damage the community in which we live, then it is time to find a new leader. It is time to start following the words of the Christ. It is time to walk a different, more loving path.