Jeremiah 10:23–25 Is This Hate Speech?
Jeremiah 10:23–25 (KJV)
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.
I can envision someone reading Jeremiah 10:25 and pointing a critical finger at the so-called hate speech it contains. No doubt it is a fearful prayer but a couple of thoughts derived from the context softens the blow (or at least gives it some background.)
I note that the prophet accepts man’s vulnerability.
Man is not able to direct his own paths. This does not excuse wicked behavior but it does explain it.
I see that he calls upon God to correct him before he calls for others to be judged.
He asks that the correction be merciful but he does ask for it first.
He asks that the enemy be destroyed not because they are different but because they are an enemy.
The one he seeks judgment upon is one who has already inflicted judgment against him and his people.
Those who scream against Christians for what they think is hate speech are generally deaf to the hateful things those like them say about believers. This isn’t the case of two cultures living peaceably side-by-side. In this case Christians have nearly two thousand years of persecution backing them. Those who are anti Christian have never been content to simply let Christians exist. They have used overt and covert means of stopping Christians.
We have had a couple hundred years of relative peace here in the United States and the opponents of Christianity have forgotten how hateful those like them have been against us.
For a Christian to pray that God destroys those who would destroy them is not hateful-it is practical and sensible. Especially when it is taken into account that the way Christians wish their enemies to be destroyed is not that they be killed but that they be converted.
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Originally published at bbcpuyallup.org on December 7, 2016.