I’m going to share a part of my life and testimony, of going from a life of hate to that of practicing love as a Christian should.
I was raised in a Christian Family. My mom’s side of the family are mostly all Conservative Republicans. My immediate household are Christians. As such I grew up around my grandmother watching 700 Club and Pat Robertson everyday.
In addition D James Kennedy every Sunday. What I watched growing up in the 1990s and 2000s ( I was born in 1992) was Right-Wing Christian Nationalism. Now combine that with the video games and secular media also put out around that time (1990-2003). Many of the video games marketed to my age group around that time, were designed to encourage young people like me to hate all countries that were enemies of the United States Government. Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein, hatred for Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, etc.
My friends and I played military video games, where as an American Soldier you get to go on missions in those countries and kill the “enemy” Action Movies in the 1990s and in the post 9/11 2000s also had those types of plots and celebrated killing people who are enemies of the United States.
After, the 9/11 attacks there was a huge uptick in patriotism and Christian Nationalism in the churches of America, including the Presbyterian Church my family attended back then. We were all pumped up to kill some Afghans and Iraqis. In 2002, George W. Bush did the “Axis of Evil Speech” naming Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the sworn enemies of America. At 10 years old I was fully indoctrinated hating Muslims entirely. Pat Robertson emboldened those views of mine as he (to this day) demands US Airstrikes on countries such as Iran and North Korea. I was very much wrapped up in the war on terror during the 2000s. When I was in Middle School (2003-2006) the school librarian was a hardcore war monger, and would celebrate anytime an Al-Qaeda terrorist was killed in a US Drone Strike. Even into High School (2006-2010) and after High School I carried a deep hatred of Muslims and wanted a war with North Korea. There were no voices in Christianity during my younger years telling me I was wrong to think that way. Pastors on TV and Radio shared those Nationalistic views. They preached that Christianity and Islam are now at war, and we have to fight them. I was also very homophobic and would use slurs against gay people. Most of my mom’s side of the family (White Conservative Republicans) thought the same way as me. I was by all means the ideal young Republican. I was a registered member of the Republican Party from 2010-2016. When would this end for me?
When my mom switched churches in 2008 and we started going to Hope Chapel, I finally starting hearing what I needed to hear. A younger pastor challenged me about my hate of muslims when I was 21, and warned me I was in danger of going to Hell. At first I was angry at this pastor for telling me that. But those words stuck with me. How could I claim to love Christ and have salvation, when I did not desire Muslims to come to Christ? If I wanted all Muslims to die and go to Hell, where is my regenerate changed heart?
After a combination of conviction from what that pastor said, participating in a life-saving bone marrow transplant for a 6 year old girl, and finally learning the evil truth of US Foreign Policy and how stupid wars are, God changed my heart. If I was going to be a genuine Christian I had to repent of all my rage and hate. I did around 2015! I asked and prayed for God to change my heart. I prayed that he would take away my hatred of Muslims. He did! I also ended up leaving the Republican Party in 2016 and stopped watching Conservative News on-line. Conservative News had always enabled me in hateful views, so I left it around 2015-2016. I give all the thanks to Jesus. He opened my heart and rescued me from pretending to be a Christian.
I am no longer who I was. I was a deceived young man believing myself to be a righteous Christian. How blind I was in hate back then. I no longer hate Muslims. I don’t hate Iran anymore. I can view the “enemy” as humans now, and that they need Jesus too! My Conservative Family members on my White Side of the Family no longer like me. They have gone deep into the Qanon cult as of now, and only want to call me when they want to yell at me for not sharing their views. I am not mad at them. I feel sorry for them, that they are so blinded with hate as I once was. So much hate and anger they are living in.
Christian Nationalism and Patriotism is destroying Christianity and the ability to love. I pray against it. I write against it. It poisoned me growing up. We need genuine Kingdom-Focused Christianity for today.
I shared more about my life and testimony here and it is very relevant in these troubled times. Jesus helped me unlearn hate, and He can still help others do the same. Amen.