Van Yandell

Van Yandell

Acts 10: 34 “Then and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

In our back yard is a holly tree. That tree is about forty feet tall and in December, the berries turn red. It usually takes about two days for a flock of hundreds of robins to move in and strip the tree of all the berries.

We have three bird feeders full of black sunflower seeds for the Kentucky cardinals that often flock into the woods. Woodpeckers, various types of finches and dozens of other multi-colored birds, keep me busy refilling those feeders. Also, there are bird baths we try to keep full of water. Sitting this morning, watching the robins around the watering pan, I noticed a dove and two other species of birds sitting on the pan edge with the robins.

Sitting here at the keyboard, looking through the shutters, I see dozens of birds flocking through the sunlight filtering through the trees.

Several squirrels are in the yard and they occasionally look up at all the birds with questioning expressions. They must be curious about all the excitement above them. Then, their minds quickly return to the item in the ground they’re searching for.

At least four species of birds are now on one of the watering pans. They are different colors, sizes; some are fat, some appear skinny. Their flight is different and their choices of food differ. Some will eat the black sunflower seed and others will not. They do not realize they are different.

My imagination cannot fathom that in the bird world, there is not someone to tell them they are supposed to hate each other. Apparently they have no way of communicating those feelings of negativity. How sad it is for them not to realize these simple concepts of hatred and disdain. They have no idea what they’re missing! I’m sure you recognize sarcasm.

Humans are in many ways the most disgusting species on earth. None of us would know we’re supposed to hate each other unless someone taught us that. This is going to sound like an opinion (and it is), love comes naturally but hatred must be taught, brainwashed into, and cultivated to survive.

Many have found, when hatred exists, in its beginning there was no problem because of skin color or ethnic origin. It stems from cultural differences and refusal of varying personalities to accept those differences. We have different values and priorities, but are those really good reasons to hate someone?

With so many in America promoting diversity and inclusiveness, why is this trend of hatred proliferating as it is? Could it be many see hatred in the actions of others but not in themselves?

It is extremely alarming to me to see a new level of negative feelings toward others that are different from us. In an age of assumed tolerance, we have become more and more intolerant. I have come to believe, there is only one race and that is the human race.

I’ve seen levels of hatred in other countries that pale this state in America. In the United Kingdom, to try to spend an English pound in Ireland can result in a beating. In Australia, the hatred directed toward the Aborigines by the English settlers is appalling.

In the mission work in Africa, I soon realized there was a presence of negative feelings between the tribes. They spoke different dialects of Swahili, and for the most part, existed to themselves. In traveling in the Middle East, one is best to visit Israel last. Having the Star of David stamped in one’s passport can result in disastrous consequences when crossing borders.

Hatred is not new. Cain killed Abel because of hatred (Genesis 4: 8). God refused to accept Cain’s fruits of the soil (organic) sacrifice and that created a situation in which the first murder was committed.

Jacob’s son Joseph was hated by his brothers (Genesis 37) so intensely they sold him into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37: 28). Saul hated David because the people loved David (1Samuel 18: 29) for killing the giant Goliath. Saul tried fourteen times ( to kill David because of his jealously.

Saul approved the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8: 1). The Jews plotted to kill Paul (Acts 23: 12-35) for the preaching of Jesus. This was only because of disagreements over religious teachings.

Matthew 26: 4-5 “And they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” Our Jesus was hated because He preached forgiveness of sin based on a faith based belief. This contradicted the Old Testament Mosaic law the Jewish hierarchy had lived under for two-thousand years.

We live in a world today in which hatred exists because of religion. Christians are persecuted because we believe Jesus is the only salvation (Acts 4: 12) and we do not approve of non-Biblical lifestyles. Many in our progressive, permissive world see these teachings as hate speech and the proliferation of hate.

It is all a matter of perspective. Proverbs 12: 15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” No matter how strange or sinful a lifestyle may seem, those that practice it, justify it in their minds. We are all foolish at some point in time by this scriptural definition.

Our attitudes, feelings and opinions are certainly foolish in the eyes of others. Everyone is foolish to someone. By our human nature, we are bound to disagree, but our level of understanding leaves a lot to be desired.

Perhaps we could take a lesson from the robins. Matthew 6: 2 “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are ye not much better than they?”