Loving Someone Does Not Mean I Have To Be OK With What They Do
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Loving Someone Does Not Mean I Have To Be OK With What They Do

We must speak truth to them, but in love.

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Loving Someone Does Not Mean I Have To Be OK With What They Do

I hear it time and time again. When a Christian disagrees with something they believe to be morally wrong, their own Bible often gets used against them. Don't support LGBTQ? "The Bible says to love everyone." Want to build the wall? "The Bible says to love everyone." Don't support women getting abortions? "The Bible says to love everyone." The list goes on. While the people who are saying this are absolutely right (see John 13:34), this verse and others like it are often taken out of context.

So, what is love, and how should it be played out in our day-to-day lives? Can you love someone and not be okay with what they do? In short, yes.

The first thing we must do is humble ourselves. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), in need of God's grace. Colossians 3:12 says, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." We are called to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. We cannot see other people as imperfect compared to ourselves, but rather as fellow sinners in need of the same grace we've so freely been given. Unfortunately, Christians sometimes are not the best example of these virtuous traits and people forget that even Christians are not perfect. However, Christians failing to be Christ-like does not mean that God is any less perfect and full of compassion, kindness, humbleness, gentleness, and patience.

The Bible also says we must speak truth to them, but in love (Ephesians 4:15). This does not mean that we need to support their actions or even be passive about their sin. God didn't say to "let them do them", but he also didn't say "make them feel guilty about their sin". We are called to speak truth into their life but in a loving way. This can look different from situation to situation. For some, speaking truth might be having a heart-to-heart conversation with them, because you're relatives or good friends. For others, this might mean simply being kind to them and welcoming them in your church. Either way, "speak" is a verb--an action. We are called to action. James 1:15 says, "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." True love would be taking action and warning them of danger, but doing so with kindness.

But what if they don't believe and repent of their sins and come to Christ immediately? Jude 22 tells us, "Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." We are to show them mercy. This doesn't mean we have to support what they do, for the Bible goes as far as to say to "hate" even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. But, we are to show them mercy as God has shown mercy to us. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people." Along with showing people mercy, we are to pray for them. This is a selfless act of love. They will probably never know you prayed, and even if they did, they wouldn't care. Maybe they would even be offended. But, the Bible commands us to pray nonetheless.

I know probably not everyone reading this article is a Christian. Or, you might be a Christian but are afraid to speak the truth even in love because you don't want to be labeled as a bigot or hypocrite. Apart from Bible verses, let me put the concept of loving someone but not being okay with what they do in perspective.

You live in a house in the woods. Everything about it is perfect, except you can't go out past sunset because a ferocious bear lives in the woods, looking for a late-night snack. It's no problem though, you just don't venture out for hikes after dark. One evening you have your friend who lives in the city over for dinner. Dinner is great. You talk and laugh and share stories. He comments on how great your backyard view is and says he'd love to go for a moonlight walk in the woods. You quickly warn him that this is not a good idea, as there is a hungry bear in the woods. He laughs at you and says you're stupid. He says you've watched too many scary movies and documentaries and are close-minded and out-of-touch with reality. In the real world, bears don't just attack people like that. He insists on taking a walk outside, and even says you don't have to come with him. After all, his decisions don't affect you. And he's right. They don't. Him getting attacked by the bear his no real effect on your life, so why should you care?

Is it possible, that we are to love people enough to tell them the truth, even when it doesn't directly involve us? Is it possible, that this kind of love is not selfish? When they tell you to be quiet because it has no effect on your life, that is implying that you have selfish reasons for telling them the truth. But maybe, just maybe, the motives behind our love should go beyond only caring about what is good or bad for us, and looking at their life through the lenses of eternity. This doesn't make you close-minded or a bigot. Maybe you're not afraid of being one of those two things, but don't want to be seen as a hypocrite. After all, you're not perfect, and everyone knows it. I'd argue that if you were able to overcome temptations you faced and times when you let the devil have a stronghold in your life, you have a testimony. It would be different if you were still living in sin while simultaneously telling others not to do the sin you yourself are doing. But, if you've overcame, you can relate to them. Yes, you did that. But yes, you found something greater than what your old life had to offer. It's not hypocrisy for someone who touched fire and got burned to tell others not to touch the fire. It's love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." We are to be kind and humble. We are to love selflessly and rejoice in truth. We are to protect and persevere. True love, for Christians and non-Christians alike, goes beyond feelings and speaks life-saving truth even where it is not welcomed.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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