The recent shooting in Buffalo, NY is being investigated as a hate crime. When one human being conceives a plan to murder other human beings, and when that plan is motivated by racial hatred, that is the definition of hate and a hate crime. There is no evidence to suggest that the shooter knew any of his victims, they were objects of his terror simply because of race. In the coming weeks, we should expect to hear indictments against guns and gun laws, against supremacist groups, and, of course, against the young man in custody.
However, at the root of the problem is a willingness to be consumed with hatred. Hatred often comes from fear and the feeling of being threatened. If we resolve our fear and anger with bitterness toward others, that often leads to violence. Jesus spoke about the law which said, “You shall not commit murder,” (Matthew 5:22).
He also took that commandment to a deeper level by saying, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court . . .” (Matthew 5:23).
I John 3:15 expands that thought, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
Hatred is not literally the same as murder, but all too often the bitterness of fear and anger leads to brutality and even murder.
Psalm 37:8 warns us, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.”
If we do not cease from anger, we will likely end up doing something evil. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
We can resolve our anger by forgiveness, by prayer, by conversation with the one who offended us. If we do not resolve our anger, we “give the devil an opportunity,” (Ephesians 4:27).