Cross and bothered

Yesterday, I talked about how a national flag could be used as a symbol of hatred. Hatred towards immigrants, hatred towards the rest of the world. If someone displays an American flag icon prominently on their social media talk page, I take it as a red flag. Perhaps the person is rightly proud of the many advances in human rights, freedoms, technology, and social administration that America has made.

My own country of Australia owes much to the rebellious leaders of the Thirteen Colonies. Partly because of their efforts, we gained independence with a signature, not a war.

But a flag-waver is nowadays highly likely to be supporting a nationalist agenda, one best exemplified by the four words “Make America Great Again”. Don Trump has many strengths, but a fond regard for the principles of liberty, equality, transparency, honesty, and the rule of law is not one of them.

So too with Christianity. I regard Jesus Christ as one of history’s great philosophical leaders. He had a lot to say about how to live a good life. Possibly his greatest contribution is the parable of the Good Samaritan. Leviticus instructed the Jews to love their neighbour as themselves. It’s probably no big deal to be kind to the person living in the same street, who attends the same place of worship, speaks the same language, and is familiar to you in every sense of the word.

Jesus took this simple notion and laid it on its head. The person you should love as yourself was no longer someone like you, but a complete stranger, one from a different culture, one who is seen as a hated enemy.

The story of the Good Samaritan is an easy test to apply to those calling themselves Christians. Do they love those who are different in every way to themselves? Or do they preach hatred?

If they divide humanity into Us and Them, then they are no follower of Christ. Simple as that.

I see a lot of supposed Christians who denigrate those who do not share the same faith, the same nationality, the same skin colour, the same political loyalties. Yet you don’t have to share somebody’s political views or lifestyle choice to love them. You simply love them.

And you most emphatically do not hate them.

Britni

Photo by Dids from Pexels

Written by Britni Pepper

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures. Her schoolmates loved listening to her stories about princesses and pirates and dragons, and once she looked up to find the principal looking on. "No, no, don't stop, Britni," he said. "I want to hear what happens next!" What happened next was university, a job in the travel industry, and a career of travelling the world meeting the most fascinating people. Britni has travelled to thirty of the world's nations and loves making up stories about fascinating people doing interesting things in exotic places. No longer tales about princes and wizards, but her stories are just as much fantasy as ever.

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