Hating the Dead

deadOn my recent trip to New Orleans, we went to the national WWII museum.  In the 4D movie featured there, Beyond All Boundaries, they mentioned that famous WWII journalist Ernie Pyle had one last column tucked inside his pocket when he died.  Reflecting on the war, he had written these words:

“Dead men by mass production — in one country after another — month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer. Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them.”

He wrote these powerful words about literal dead men he saw lying on the ground wherever he went.  But as I heard them, I could not help to think about the spiritual dead all around us, those without the life of Christ dwelling inside of them.

For many years, we as American Christians only saw the spiritually dead laying on the ground once in awhile.  Oh, they have always existed, lots of them.  Each of us was one at least for a few moments ourselves.  But they were not always so obvious.  Most people we met and knew at the very least gave lip service to belief in God.  They did not lie there on the ground for everyone to step over.

But it is no longer so.  Just today I talked to a woman who is dying.  She told me she asked one of the help if they believed in God.  They responded with a quick and cold, “No.”  We see the spiritual dead lying everywhere now.  In our families, at our workplaces,  and in our community.  We hear them speak in Ted Talks.  We watch them sing from grand stages.  They even walk among our youngest children in the schools.

The dead should be mourned. They should draw forth our compassion.  Our eyes should well up with tears. Our Lord’s eyes did.  “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

hopelessBut the more they are lying around, the more likely we are to lose our compassion.  The more likely we are to begin to hate them.  The more they become an inconvenience to us. We get sick of stumbling over them. Their smell inflames far more than our nostrils.  We begin hate them.

But Jesus still loves them.  He still desires to breath life into their dead bones.  Their death is His sorrow.

Dear Lord, remove from us our hatred of the spiritually dead.  Forgive our sinful frustration with their continual presence.  Give us hearts that love the dead all the way into Your arms.  Amen.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 9:34 am and is filed under Theology and Practice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Hating the Dead”

  1. Walter Raffel Says:

    An excellent article and insight Pastor. Thank you.

  2. Emily Says:

    A few years ago, God opened my eyes to the spiritually dead among us by giving me a vision of these people whom I would encounter, wrapped in cloths like a mummy. The cloths were dirty and I could see the flesh rotting off their bones. It was not a pretty picture but God used those images to make me see others the way He sees them. He sees that they are spiritually dead and wounded and hopeless. He wants me to see their needs, and to reach out to them. Not, as your post says “hate them”, become tolerant of them, to become blind to their need of a Savior. Thanks Phil for reminding me of this truth.

  3. Susan James Says:

    Interesting and true. Not hate the spiritually dead but avoid them is what happens, too. They argue that they don’t believe in God but have no hope; they tell me that they read thus and so on the internet so believe man’s word over God’s. I don’t get it. But we are only God’s tools. Jesus said to Go and Tell, not Go and Convince. We can do this with a cheerful and understanding heart by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

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