Hate crime is a term we hear voiced in the media, frequently and forcefully. In the eyes of the world it is seems to carry more weight than simply stating there has been a homicide. Hate crime links prejudice with a lack of tolerance in the mind of the aggressor. Yet; I find the descriptive hate unnecessary. There are few instances where hate is not in the heart of any murderer. They certainly have a lack of genuine love. I ponder the "Gestapo," wreaking havoc on Jews in their midst.
Saul, in zeal for righteousness and pride in his Jewish heritage, wreaked havoc on the early church. "But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and dragging off men and women, he put them in prison (Acts 8:3 NAS). He was in hot pursuit! "Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2 NAS)."
Saul, seeking to bind followers of Christ, lived in the bondage of hatred. In ignorance, he tried to halt the spread of the gospel. Through grace, he experienced it firsthand. He had a personal encounter with Jesus on a Damascus road and fell to the ground. (Acts 9:3-4) God commissioned him as a chosen instrument to both Gentiles and Jews. He no longer took part in hate crimes; he turned from persecuting to proclaiming. "He is the Son of God (Acts 9:20b)
God changed his name from Saul to Paul. The apostle testified to his transformed life. "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service: even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief: and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus (1Timothy 1:12-14 NAS). Hate crimes will cease when we follow Jesus command to love our enemies!
With God all things are possible! Published articles in Mature Living Magazine, Secret Place, Daily Devotionals for the Deaf, Light from the Word Daily Devotional. Available now in book store: FORGET-ME-NOT DAILY DEVOTIONAL http:/ebooks.faithwriters.com/ebook-details.php?id=520