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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006
"I Hate You!"
Let's pretend for a minute that our churches are not perfect; that there are some of us who prefer the company of some to the company of others, and forming clics we tend to fellowship with those whom we have similar interests or whatnot with. Pretend if you will that the older people tend to fellowship with the other older people, the younger people with the younger, and the young families with the other young families.

To continue our pretending - lets further pretend that while these groups typically get along with one another, yet between these groups there can (from time to time) spring some animosity. The older group are pressing for a wheelchair ramp, the younger for band instruments (drums and electic guitars) to be used in "worship."

Along such lines, it happens, that the external Christian sheen fractures a little, and something of the selfish, and entirely carnal beast within begins to show. Allowed to fester, what begins as a disagreement about what to do with church resources turns into an opportunity for hate to infect the church.

How can it happen that people who claim to have the perfect and pure Spirit of God living within them - hate other Christians?

Well, the first cut we all know - they cannot do so while being in fellowship with God. Some might immediately question the validity of their salvaiton - but lets no go there today. Instead lets presume that everyone in our pretending example is saved. How is it that they can suddenly hate another believer?

I will tell you. They can only hate another because of one thing - they themselves do not believe that God loves them personally.

Now, that probably sounds pretty simplistic, but bear me out. I am not saying that they don't have the knowledge that God loves them personally - surely they know what the facts are - they just do not believe them.

I often wonder if this isn't the first tier of "unbelief" or "doubt." They know the rules, and keep them as best they can, solely in the strength of a head-knowledge that God loves them, but entirely unconvinced of it personally.

Do you remember the first time you knew the intimate love of God? The love that brought you to your knees in heaving, uncontrollable sobs? Do you not remember how when the love of God was poured into you, how you broke - shattered into a million pieces so that you could say, Lord, there isn't enough of me to worship You as You deserve? That love that was so complete, and so free - and so compelling?

The ability to hate another comes at the expense of that love. Either the believer has never experienced God's love personally, or has not "kept himself in the love of God." Whatever the case, when we consider how much God loves another Christian, we can not (if we know the love of God) help but to love that person as God loves them.

It isn't a theological decision we make, but a sharing of God's Spirit within us that makes it impossible to continue in hating those whom God loves.

In our pretending story, the problem with these people who walk the path of hate, is that they are religious and not spiritual - love to them is an academic fact, and not an experiential reality. They have never humbled themselves enough to know God's love.

That may well be the key - it isn't that God only loves the humble, it is that only the humble are willing to accept that God loves them unconditionally.

So when we see division in a church, we are seeing a group of people in which are some who don't believe that God loves them. The first ministry to such a group is to explain to them that the the love of God only constrains those who believe that God loves them. Unbelief must be dealt with as sin - that is, identified and repented of.

Sometimes what we try and do instead is to solve the problem with worldly wisdom. "Let's just get everyone in a room together and put it all on the table, and it'll all work out." Well, guess what. That doesn't work. People need to understand the root problem, and not the symptoms. Even if you do manage to squash something by laying it on the table - so what? Unless the hatred is drowned in love, it will rise again.


posted by Daniel @ 10:18 AM  
7 Comments:
  • At 12:24 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Good food for thought. I wonder if anyone will comment on the "He loves us unconditionally" part?

    Oh, I guess I just did.

    Of course, your premise is that we are talking about Christians. His love for us as unconditional is based upon the condition that we are Christians. The condition of unconditional love is Christ.

    I believe that Ephesians 4:32 speaks plainly to this issue of hating one another, as well as Galatians 5:14 and following.

    To experience the love of God, not just in the head but in the heart. Right on. I would add that some might have the right belief AND the right action, but still not have the right feelings.

    We need 3-D Christianity: Doctrine, Devotion, and Demonstration.

    The Rock rocks in you Daniel. God bless.

     
  • At 12:59 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    It's a good thing we're only pretending. It could get ugly if that ever actually happened.

    Daniel, I love how your theology makes it into the real world.

     
  • At 7:54 AM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    The problem as I've seen it play out in churches has been less one of hate, and more one of general apathy or ennui toward one another. Kind of a laxidaisical attitude with regard to those who don't always see things the same way.
    With respect to unbelief, whenever I find myself struggling with any issue before the Lord, I often say those four beautiful words "help thou my unbelief" - because I think that unbelief is the true root of many of our struggles.
    Likewise, I think pride and selfishness are the roots of the lion's share of our sins. And perhaps the root of many of these inner-church struggles you cited.

     
  • At 3:57 PM, May 03, 2006, Anonymous Elizabeth said…

    With any problem in churches, seems most could be solved by simply practicing the Golden Rule! Truly caring for the welfare of another, no matter what the cost to oneself. Reading and obeying scripture first and foremost, of course. ALL those lovely passages are there to HELP us have a better life. Seeking peace with all so much as lieth in us!

     
  • At 8:59 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Daniel,
    This problem doesn't just exist within our individual churches, but within the body of Christ.
    Of course you always bring it back to sin - which is what I admire about you - and that is the root of the problem.
    We can 'put on' the right action or 'face' all we want, but until our inner heart is cleansed...

    I remember the moment I 'knew that I knew God loved me' - He brings me back time and again to that moment and it humbles me before Him. As I 'feel' His love I am eager to face and confess 'my' sin. In His love I see His holiness and grace and compassion for me.
    I used to be afraid that if I confessed my sin (pride, resentment, fear, etc) I would have to become a 'doormat' to others, but actually I find there is a strength as I humble myself.
    "Sometimes He calms the raging sea, sometimes He just puts peace in me."

    BTY - how do you remain sane and cool headed in the crazy blog world? The vitriolic comments are a real example of your post. I think I have to stop reading them as the sarcasm and thinly veiled hatred, anger and pride is starting to affect my attitude towards other Christians and I know I don't spend the time going from blog to blog that many obviously do. (when do they have time left over to have a life?)
    I was sobered by the posting of a missionary the other day. I realized that many arguments over 'words' must seem so foolish to those on the 'front lines' where being a Christian can be a life or death issue.
    Maybe the Chinese christians who pray for persecution to come to North America are not so foolish after all.

    Repentant Eunice

     
  • At 1:59 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Martin Thorley said…

    If we want to make any progress in our half-hearted, wordly lives we have to scratch below the surface to the root sin.

    Keep scratching Daniel.

     
  • At 2:41 PM, May 04, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Martin - Bingo!

     
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