The 11th Com­mand­ment

The Weekly Vista - - News - RON WOOD Ron Wood is a writer and min­is­ter. Con­tact him at wood.stone.ron@gmail.com or visit www.touched­by­grace.org. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

Two men sat at a booth giv­ing away stick­ers. The stick­ers had a sim­ple slo­gan: “LOVE FOR ALL — HA­TRED FOR NONE.” The two men were Mus­lims. It is a uni­ver­sal truth that love over­comes fear. The Bi­ble says, “God is love.”

You can be a fol­lower of Je­sus with­out hat­ing other races or fear­ing other re­li­gions. In fact, it is re­quired! You can be a fer­vent pa­triot with­out be­ing anti-im­mi­grant. You can be proud to be an Amer­i­can but not be a white su­prem­a­cist. Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party set fire to Europe with their ide­ol­ogy. Their racism killed mil­lions with its ar­ro­gant big­otry and lust for power.

Racism is in­com­pat­i­ble with the king­dom of Christ. My wife and I lived in the home of a black pas­tor in Africa. We served un­der the lead­er­ship of a black Bishop in Amer­ica. The body of Christ is mul­tira­cial. Both fear and hate are erased by God’s love, if we are born again. Are you?

I be­lieve in ul­ti­mate power — love. Je­sus said, “In ev­ery­thing there­fore, treat peo­ple the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 7:12 NAS) Je­sus summed up what sal­va­tion pro­duces: a com­mu­nity of love with mu­tual re­spect. We need to ac­cept peo­ple from other na­tions, re­li­gions or cul­tures. It is the devil who in­spires hate and vi­o­lence, not the Lord.

Party strife po­lar­izes peo­ple. The love of God brings us to­gether. Lib­er­als need to re­spect con­ser­va­tives and vice versa. I don’t hate lib­er­als but I do dis­agree with their poli­cies of tax and spend, erase moral­ity, dis­re­spect our found­ing prin­ci­ples, weaken our de­fense or dis­solve fam­ily val­ues … but that doesn’t mean I de­spise them as in­di­vid­u­als. I sim­ply dis­like their fool­ish no­tions.

Many lib­er­als are good peo­ple even if their gov­er­nance is flawed. I was a friend of Florida’s Law­ton Chiles. He was a mod­er­ate Demo­crat, a Gov­er­nor and a Se­na­tor. I was sad when he died. He was a prin­ci­pled man who could not be bribed or in­tim­i­dated. We had many good dis­cus­sions.

Like­wise, it’s a mis­take to put all con­ser­va­tives in the same camp. We are di­verse and shouldn’t be lumped into one stereo­type. It’s a mis­take to say each eth­nic group is alike: Na­tive Amer­i­cans, African Amer­i­cans, Mus­lim Amer­i­cans, His­panic Amer­i­cans, the home­less poor or the white men who drive trucks and own guns. La­bel­ing is a type of prej­u­dice.

There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing a pref­er­ence and hav­ing a prej­u­dice. A pref­er­ence is okay, but prej­u­dice is wrong. I pre­fer Amer­ica’s cul­ture over oth­ers. I pre­fer my kind of mu­sic — with good lyrics and a melody more than noise. I pre­fer meat­loaf and mashed pota­toes over eat­ing rice and curry, or noo­dles and veg­eta­bles.

I am a con­sti­tu­tional con­ser­va­tive but open to dis­cus­sions with those who are not. Let’s have civil de­bates over dif­fer­ing ideas. May the truth win! I am a Chris­tian who be­lieves the Bi­ble is true, Je­sus is the Son of God, and ev­ery­one needs to be saved. But a lot of my friends don’t be­lieve that way and are not yet saved. I love them, en­joy them and pray for them. I’ve been among all kinds of churches and all kinds of races. I love them even though not all share my cul­ture or my way of wor­ship.

My friend, Chris, just came back from be­ing in a ru­ral black church. He’s white, but he was wel­comed and shared his story. He used to be a racist un­til God put his fin­ger on his sin and he re­pented. Real men don’t hate. They risk lov­ing oth­ers.

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