When the Bible tells us to love. It doesn’t mean that we are to love only those who are “righteous”. It doesn’t say to love only those who are equally yoked or only those who love us back. We are called to love their being regardless of how they act. We love because by doing so it might help them into a relationship with God.
When my brother first came out of the closet to my parents, my parents didn’t react at all how my brother and I expected them to act. They were calm, loving, and accepting. They accepted the fact that this was the choice their son had made, but they in no way agreed with his lifestyle. Might I add that both of my parents are ministers so this was in no way easy for them to accept. A year later… my brother announced that he and his partner of 2 years were ready to take their relationship to the next level; marriage.
I’ll never forget that day… my mom took my brother by the hand, looked him in the eye and said “Son, I love you with all my heart. I really do. However, I can still love you and not agree with you. I hope you can understand why I won’t be attending your wedding.”
Once again, my parents did not react how we expected them to. Although it hurt my brother to hear those words, he respected my parent’s decision… just as they had respected his. At the end of the day, they still loved each other very much.
Truthfully speaking, this doesn’t happen enough in today’s society. The mentality of most is “either you’re with me or you’re against me” and we all know that it’s not always that cut and dry. (at least it shouldn’t be)
If I think God defines marriage and not a court, that doesn’t mean I hate same sex couples.
If I think God is my creator, that doesn’t mean I hate atheists.
If I think sex is for marriage, that doesn’t mean I hate fornicators or adulterers.
So the question becomes… How can we show the love of Christ even when we don’t agree?
Here are 3 ways:
1. Welcome everyone to your church…
We all start in a bad place or have been at one point. No one has it all together.
We are all works in progress. We do not expect people to get their sin in order before attending church any more than a hospital expects people to get healed before they show up.
2. Pray for them…
I find it saddening that the first thing we do as Christians is to degrade and belittle before we even think about bowing our heads to pray.
Jesus Himself had His share of critics and haters. You know what He did? He prayed for them. He orders us to do the same; pray for those who need it, instead of turning your back on them.
3. Be kind…
Just because you can’t see eye to eye with someone, that doesn’t give you the right to think you are above them.
Probably the hardest, yet the most character-defining thing you can do is to be kind to people who are unkind to you. Showing kindness is not dependent on what you receive from people. Showing kindness depends on your character. What you do or say to others does not define them…it defines you. Remember that how they see and treat you is a reflection and extension of how they see and treat themselves. Most unkind people are harsh with themselves. So they extend it to others around them.
Whenever you feel the spirit of judgement taking over your thoughts, I invite you to lift up this prayer…
“Lord, I come to you with a humbled spirit and an open heart. I pray every seed of hatred and judgement be cast out with the same love and understanding you show me daily. Lord, I ask that you would use me to minister to those who are also struggling in these areas. Let my light shine so that through me, others will see just how much you love and care for them too. I will try to choose my words wisely and speak out of love as to not offend anyone. Help me to be an example to those who do not know you Lord.”
In Jesus’ name I pray,