POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Love or Sentiment?

I saw these posters online and thought they provoked many thoughts and ideas.  However, I find these sorts of statements, though provocative, to be far too simplistic.  I have no issue with the center poster - it is beautiful to me...the outer images however make me ask a few deeper questions.

These two images obviously are using the extreme to teach a point. They are using a form of visual hyperbole.  Yet this is the problem when taken in a very wooden fashion.  In other words, if we must examine what we mean by "love" or we can stoop into mere sentimentalism.

A few quick questions:

  • Did Jesus love the Pharisees? I would say “yes” - was he “nice to them” - well, he was pretty harsh with them. He said some of the most searing hot things to them. Why?
  • Additionally in Acts 13 did Paul “love” the sorcerer Elymus? I would say “yes” but he was not nice to him.
  • We also see Jesus talk about people perishing, the reality of divine wrath and judgment from his Father, etc.  Was God failing to "love his enemies" as some revisionist theologians would have us believe?
God in grace gives all sinners the call of grace and kindness to draw rebels and sinners towards repentance.  Yet he will by no means clear the guilty - and WE are the guilty.  Here we find the amazing in the grace given in the gospel.  Yet there is more to be said.
Hitler or Osama, or any of us may freely receive the grace of God - but there still remains temporal justice. Hitler or Osama or any of us ought to receive justice for our sins and our crimes.  The amazing grace of the gospel is that God forgives and justifies guilty sinners.  This ought to make us humble and grateful and willing to love anyone, not thinking anyone to far for the grace of God.  So yes, we ought to pray for our enemies, love them, but we should not capitulate to evil either. Love doesn’t mean we should offer up our children to murderers or pedophiles simply because “we love them.” It means entrusting justice to God and also keeping a murderer from doing further harm.
Posters like this are far too simplistic and assume too much. Should we “love” Osama - yes, in that we hope for his redemption, repentance and for grace to take hold of his heart…but that doesn’t mean he should not be firmly opposed and held responsible for any evil he does or has done.

One of the artists who designed this poster wrote the following:

I have so much anger in my heart at the very sight of a swastika. And I had to draw one to make these posters. It infuriated me. I’ve been trained to hate Hitler and Osama. Yet, Christ tells me to love these people—how? why? what? These people deserve justice and death! Look at what they’ve done. Look at these atrocities.

Before we turn off the outrage and anger in our consciences, let me encourage the designer. The swastika should not make us feel and think nice thoughts. It ought to make us angry for what it stood for. There is a righteous anger throughout the Old and New Testaments and exhibited in the very life of Jesus. To feel good about swastikas is a different kind of wickedness - that of a seared conscience.  It may disguise itself in sentimentalism, but it is not love. 

May God give us love for our enemies and righteous anger in the face of evil.  The cross of Christ is actually the perfect union of fierce wrath and justice as well as mercy, grace and love.  It is where righteousness and justice kiss - let us not forget to come to God in repentance and marvel at grace.  But the evil in our own hearts and all around us should not be welcomed with a fuzzy embrace.