Among the things I love about Detroit is Mexican Town. I’m a California native and spent much of my life living in the Southwest. On a recent family outing for tasty culinary delights, I stopped to allow the kids take a few photos of some beautiful wall art in that area. While they took their selfies, I captured an image of the most beautiful little flower springing forth from a little clay pot. The words, “No Hate,” are painted over it.
It’s difficult to know what was in the mind of any artist as they practice their craft. That is part of the beauty of all art. It leaves us with the work of interpretation. I am imagining the flower as the burgeoning faith of a lost and weary soul wondering in this world. Having had the courage to peak out of the safety of the seed, the little flower of faith felt the warmth of sunlight and it made her grow.
The flower of faith has not grown that tall yet. Her roots are just beginning the fill the clay pot. One day she will be too big for the comfort of her clay jar. To continue to grow she’ll need the nutrients of the open ground and the room to send her root tips out into the soil searching for new territory to explore. The artist knows there is just one thing that can crush the precious little flower of faith before it is fully cultivated; before faith is strong enough to survive the cold winters of this world.
The painter that painted young’s faith’s portrait as a flourishing flower hurries to warn faith and all who gaze upon her portrait. NO HATE. Hate kills faith. Hate mocks faith’s founder and her founder’s purpose in the world. In I John 4:20 the Bible says, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” The only thing worth hating in this world is hate itself. Hate, pure hate, is the only darkness in this world that has no hope of learning from the light. Hate is a poison that too often infects faith and kills her flourishing flower of beauty before she has a chance to shine her beauty in the world.
I don’t know if this was the interpretation I was supposed to find in the art, but it is the application I am making in my life and in the world. The best nutrition for faith is love. Love begins and ends with forgetting oneself. If we want our faith to grow and if we want to be an instrument of fostering faith in others, the only hate we can carry into the field of faith is hatred for hate. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (I John 4:8, ESV) No Hate.