White Supremacy. KKK. Free Speech. Violent Protests. Hate.
Those words have been seen and heard all over the media this past week since the events in Charlottesville, VA on August 12. You can’t turn on the news without it being talked about, can’t visit social media sites without seeing someone posting their thoughts about it, and honestly can’t be anywhere that the media can be accessed without hearing about it. It’s all around us.
Today there is a rally/protest planned in Boston. I was actually driving through Boston early this morning, and I started thinking about what it might be like to be in Boston during that time. If I had nothing going on and nowhere to be, perhaps I would have ventured into Boston to observe and see what would happen. But, today I get to see my kids. First time in a week since I’ve seen them…so that takes precedence for my day today!
As I was driving and thinking about that, I began to think through what I would want to say to my kids about what is happening in our society right now. My kids have TV, and my oldest is on social media, so I guarantee they’ve heard at least something about Charlottesville, White Supremacy, KKK, Free Speech, Protests, or Hate this week. They might not understand much of what is happening, but I’m sure they’ve at least heard about it.
So what would I want my kids to know about all that is going on? What would I want to tell them and teach them regarding this? I want my kids to know right from wrong and to live to do what is right…so what do I want them to know about all of this hate?
I want my kids to know that acting in hate toward other people simply because they are different than us is NEVER right.
I want my kids to know that believing you are better than someone else…anyone else…is NEVER right.
I want my kids to know that every human being is valuable, so treating them as inferior or believing they are less valuable than you is NEVER right.
That is what I want my kids to know about hate. That is what I want to teach my kids as they grow up.
But I want to do more than just tell them this…I want to teach them to be able to know why this is true. I don’t want to just give them the ability to simply recite truths that I passed on to them (yes, I do want them to listen to what I say…and I’d be proud if they every quoted me), but I also want to instill in them the ability to think critically about things and understand the why behind something being right or wrong. I want them to grow up knowing how to know if something is right or wrong on their own, because I won’t always be here to tell them what is right and what is wrong.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” John 3:16
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love… If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:7-8, 20-21
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:43-44
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:14-18
I want my kids to know and understand that God loves everyone, regardless of whether or not they believe in him or love him, what they look like, or where they are from. I want them to know that God loved all of us so much that he was willing to send his son to die for all of us…not just certain people. I want them to know and understand that God calls us to love others, and that we are even told in 1 John that if we hate someone but say we love God, we are a liar. I want them to realize that we are commanded to love our neighbors, and that we are even told to love our enemies. I want them to begin to put into practice now the fact that we are challenged to not be conceited but rather put others before ourselves. And I want them to strive to live peaceably with all people, seeking to promote peace by living in harmony with others.
When my kids know what God says in his word about how we are to treat others, they will be able to understand that they are not better than other people who are different, and that will lead them to realize that any form of hate toward another person for that reason is NEVER right.
What do I want my kids to know about hate? I want them to know that hate is wrong, including why it is wrong. I want them to know that treating others who are different in any way that is degrading is wrong. I want them to know that thinking they are better than others who might be different is wrong. And I want them to know that anyone who promotes hate toward a group of people that are different is wrong.