The Point: Hatred is Poison

On Saturday, a 19-year-old man walked into a California synagogue and started shooting, leaving one worshiper dead and at least four others injured. That number would almost certainly have been higher had his gun not jammed.

Like other recent mass shooters, he left a manifesto of hatred. Unlike other recent mass shooters, he had a stellar high school GPA, was a varsity athlete, came from a loving family, and attended church.

How does this happen? The Washington Post said it was inspired by “the devastating impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and enabled by the largely unchecked freedoms of social media.”

But there’s a simpler explanation: unchecked hatred. The words “hate” and “hater” have been cheapened by overuse, but true hatred is a deadly poison. It spreads and eats away at the soul of the one who holds it.

First John 3:15 is clear: “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” This is both figuratively, and sometimes, literally true.

Resources

San Diego synagogue shooting: What we know about suspect John Earnest 

  • Tom Kisken and Julie Makinen | USA TODAY | April 28, 2019
Ancient hatreds, modern methods: How social media and political division feed attacks on sacred spaces 

  • Marc Fisher, Roxana Popescu and Kayla Epstein | Washington Post | April 28, 2019
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