So I wrote about Christian Tract Ninjas the other day and woke this morning to find pictures on Facebook of spray-painted anti-Christian vandalism on one of our local churches.

Statements including – “Satan is finally here”, “You’re all goin to Hell” painted in bold letters on the church bus and “Satan loves you” on the church doors.

Note the grammatically correct use of “You’re” rather than the usual mistake of “Your” suggesting the vandals are older.

I am tempted to say “sticks and stones…” at this point but I will not because the truth is words are powerful. If I know my Christian brothers and sisters, this will serve to do nothing but strengthen their faith as they rally together in solidarity around the need to pray for the vandals and cleanse the building.

The act is cowardly. This is not meant as an insult but merely as a statement of fact. It is a form of anti-evangelism. It is impersonal and distant and intentionally hidden – an act of darkness done in darkness. It is the polar opposite of the tract placements I wrote about the other day. The act is designed to elicit an angry and combative response. I wonder if the two are connected at some level?

The difference of course is the motivation – hate versus love. The use of spray paint to deface a place of worship is meant to create pain and is a hate crime.

In these moments (which will happen more and more) an opportunity of response is given to us by another word…by the Word:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:44-48