Stay positive. That is the message I give myself on certain days. It's funny. When I was younger I used to scoff at all the "self-help" and "betterment" ideas that were out there, to include standing in front of the mirror and reciting "you are a good person" or "people like you." While I'm not exactly talking about that, I do have days where I stand in front of the mirror and recite "stay positive."
Well, one reason is that I like to peruse the headlines. If you don't have the same proclivity, you might miss the overwhelmingly negative tone in most of today's headlines. As a former analyst, I like to see the information from all sides and make my own decision. My primary three sources of information for determining the priority of information for the day are CNN, FOX, and BBC. CNN for its decidedly liberal stance, FOX for its decidedly conservative stance, and BBC for the international perspective. Argue all you want about FOX being "Fair and Balanced" or CNN's reporting letting you decide, because at the end of the day they market to an audience and if you favor one over the other, you are their audience.
But today I'm telling myself to "stay positive" not because one network is carrying a story disparaging the audience of the other, but because all three networks are carrying a story of Hate.
To be clear, there is hate, and then there is Hate.
Merriam-Webster defines "hate" as a noun, "Intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; extreme dislike or disgust; a systematic and especially politically exploited expression of hatred;" and as a verb, "to feel extreme enmity toward; to regard with active hostility; to have a strong aversion to; find very distasteful." That, Christian, is your everyday hate, as in "I hate broccoli" or "I hate my job."
The other "Hate" isn't defined in Webster's. But it is defined in Brunei.
According to articles carried by all three networks, and one in particular on MSN.com, the tiny, oil-rich country of Brunei adopted strict Sharia law in 2013 with the intent of enacting stoning laws for certain crimes today, April 3, 2019. One such crime punishable by stoning to death is homosexuality.
Now, Christian, don't get me wrong. The Bible is clear. Homosexuality is wrong. But as clear as the Bible is on homosexuality it is also equally clear on murdering someone simply for their sexual proclivity.
"You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Lev 18:22, NKJV)
You might argue that the selfsame book condemning homosexuality as an abomination later instructs the death penalty for homosexual acts (Lev 20:13). I will argue that, while the Old Testament remains the Word of God, inspired and good for daily instruction, the law of death ended with Christ's birth. Jesus preached love and life where the Mosaic law and Jewish tradition leaned toward legalism and death. Jesus didn't come to break the law. He came to fulfill it.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matt 5:17, NKJV)
Friend, Jesus died for the righteous and the self-righteous, the homosexual and the heterosexual, the sinner and the saint alike. He died for you and for me so that we would love our neighbor as ourselves, not so that we would stone or even denigrate those who feel, believe, or practice sins openly that we hide in the shadows ourselves.
"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins." (Ecc 7:20, NIV)
So, no, Brunei, you don't get to hide your Hate behind Sharia law. You don't get to hide your Hate in the antiquated and universally-rejected gender oppressive fantasy of extreme Islam. Jesus of Nazareth is a prophet in your religion as well and He said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt 22:39, NKJV). So before you go and codify Hate as your national religion, pick up the measuring stick and evaluate your own existence. You might just find yourself in the circle asking for forgiveness and praying this prophet, Jesus, challenges your accusers.
"When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'" (John 8:10-11, NJKV)
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.