From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Christians across Nigeria have been urged not to hate Muslims and practitioners of other religions, but to continue to show them love for the good of the country.
President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Bishop Wale Oke gave the charge when he played host to South-West Zonal delegates of the PFN made up of state chairmen and secretaries as well as the executive, led by the Zonal Vice President, Bishop Reuben Olu Oke, in Ibadan, at the weekend.
Oke, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, received separately the Kwara State delegates of PFN, led by their state chairman, Rev Timothy Opatola, the United Apostolic Church of Christ led by its General Overseer, Rev James Owoyemi; Church of God Mission, Oyo State zone led by Rev Lasaki Cathy and the Ambassadors of Advance Ministers’ Seminar (AMS), Lagos.
According to him, the absence of love in any setting, could usher in hatred which could breed animosity and invariably lead to strife if not properly handled.
‘As Christians, we have to rethink and repackage our theology by replacing love with hate. Carrying guns or violence won’t solve the problem.Love is the antidote.If you show hatred to someone, he or she will equally not see the good in you, let alone buying into whatever you believe in.
‘Then, Christians must stop hating Muslims. Let us pray for them; let us love them and let us stop hate in whatever form. Truly, an eye for an eye, will make our world to go blind, which may defeat the purpose of our faith,’ he said.
Oke further enjoined Christians, especially clerics, not to abandon the message of love which was handed over to them by Jesus Christ. But he quickly clarified his submission should not be misinterpreted to mean timidity.
He urged Christians neither to be afraid nor to give up their rights, advised that they must eschew replying Muslims and other religious adherents with hate and violence.
‘We must conquer hate with love, that is what Jesus Christ taught us. Love is the most powerful tool in the world. You can not effectively evangelize to someone you hate. Christianity is a fruit of love and not hate,’ Bishop Oke said.