Summary: In a world being torn apart by hatred, the power of God’s love is needed more than ever.
Sermon for CATM - July 17, 2005 - “The Power of Love”
What is love? Have you ever asked that? Or have you ever had someone say to you that they didn’t know what love is? I’ve seen people really struggle to find out what it means to love.
I’ve seen friendships fail for lack of love. If you think about it, we’ve seen devastation occur for lack of love. Think of London. Think of Rwanda. Think of the ongoing struggle in the Middle East.
Or is that just political? People warring over land, people hating each other over tribal differences. People making statements about western culture and unjust wars? You wonder. Eh? You wonder what love brings to our lives. You wonder what all the hate is about that we see in the world.
And we ask, “Why!?!?!” What in the world has brought about the current state of the world? most of us are use to just struggling with our own problems, working through our own issues. Our minds occupied with the day-to-day. And then...BOOM. The huge struggles that the world is facing intrude in on our lives. With a vengence. So many people, it seems, are so angry at others. There’s so much hate in the world.
There is an epidemic of hate in the world today. It is expressed as a man walks into a subway station, boards a train and then, seeing children, and women and men young and old all around him, makes the final decision to detonate a bomb in the hopes of killing as many innocent people as possible.
We have seen this in London. In four separate incidents timed for the harm of as many as possible. We have seen this in Madrid, Iraq. Israel. Jordan.
We are being told that we also, in this peace-loving, peacekeeping, non-warring nation of Canada and especially in this multi-racial, multi-religious city of Toronto that we are on a list. A list of hate. Somebody, connected to Al Queida, may want to kill as many children as possible, as many innocent people going about their lives.
And we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that those who kill in these ways die for religious convictions, and so some may be inclined to sympathise. Or to see the murderer as somehow a victim and all the victims as somehow responsible for forcing this man to commit this desperate act. But I caution those who think this way. Do not be deceived. Don’t make friends with evil. Do not excuse it, don’t coddle it.
People kill because they hate. God has nothing to do with it. It is a human choice. And the problem of hate is a human dilemma which distorts humanity. Twists our thinking. Calls good evil and evil good.
This is difficult to talk about because for must of us here today, we come to church to learn to live another way, or to connect with the One who is love, the One who said, “Greater love has no man than to lay die his life for his friends” and followed it up with action.
The God who by definition is “love”. But if we’re going to understand, truly, the power of love, we need to take a realistic, if brief, look at the problem of hate. There is a power to hate. It is
The Power of Confusion
John says in 1 John 2:11 “Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him”.
Hatred distorts reality. It perverts what is real and stretches over it a smothering, doctored interpretation and understanding. Those who hate are out of touch with the true value of life. Hatred blinds people. It blinds them to the good in life.
It causes people to be so focussed on what they are upset about that they don’t see how it is changing them, how it is affecting them. Those who hate don’t know where they are going, says John.
The power of hate is also the power to divide.
The Power to Divide
Hate involves a deep rejection of another. It is not merely a matter of not having time for another. It involves a wholesale rejection of another person. Then comes a great divide. Once there was perhaps a walking together, a talking together, a sharing together. Now there are only walls. Barriers.
A new not-knowing another. And then in the absence of communication and relationship, assumptions are made. The worst is thought. The vacuum is filled with suspicions. People who should be friends, be working together toward a common good are prevented by a huge division between them.
The Power to Kill
This is pretty obvious. We have too many current examples of this. The impact of hate is felt by