Sunday, March 28, 2010

Challenging Conventional Christian Wisdom – Part 2 – To love?

I’m tired of hearing that Christianity is all about love.

Not because I don’t think it’s true. I’m tired of hearing it because I seldom see it. What do I see? I see Christians SAY they love people different from them. But what are Christians DOING to show people they love people different from them?

Answer these simple questions:

How many atheists know that you love them?

How many democrats know that you love them?

How many gays know that you love them?

How many people radically different from you know that you love them?

Some might argue, “I love them when I tell them their sin.” Which, of course, as I stated in my last post, truth is just as important as grace. But I find no good reason for us, as Christians, to let our display of love end at mere words.

If my wife doesn’t believe I love her, is that my fault or hers? It’s mine. I have failed to both communicate and display my love. When people different from us do not believe that we love them, whose fault is that? Ours, or theirs? Ours. Because we have failed to both communicate and display love.

If I only told my wife what she was doing wrong and how she needed to change for the sake of our relationship, then I would be an insensitive (probably unloving) husband. If we, as Christians, only show what they do wrong and how they need to change for the sake of their relationship with God, then we come across as insensitive (even unloving) fanatics.

Relationship is essential to love.

Too many times, when communicating our faith, we as Christians come across as bad salesmen, caring more about the product we sell (convincing people to believe), than trustworthy friends.

I want you to take a long, hard, honest look at yourself. Ask, “Do people different than me believe that I love them?”

Most important of all, Jesus' words on love:

"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 brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?" (Matthew 5:46-47)


I know I sound pessimistic. I do not think all Christians are like this. In fact, one person who I believe loves everybody different from him is my friend LJ Gay. I watch him love people that are the opposite of him, and he inspires me. Thanks LJ.


  1. You make me happy, Chris. You really do. We should talk again sometime soonish.

  2. I totally agree with you, but I find it really hard to put into practice and I think it's worth thinking why.

    Among my friends are people of very different ethical values and lifestyles than I have. And generally, I have relationships with them and love them (and accept their love for me), and things go on fine. But just sometimes, I feel almost compelled to tell them they're wrong and should be different. And I think it's selfish, it's about me wanting to shore up my own beliefs, and feeling discomfort at others who make different choices in their lives.

    I'd be interested about why others fail to live up to the command of love too...? (OK for some, they go to churches that tell them to fail on this one!)

  3. "How many atheists know that you love them?

    How many democrats know that you love them?

    How many gays know that you love them?

    How many people radically different from you know that you love them?"

    I have the opposite problem. Having had the crap beat out me by the church plenty of times, it's Christians that I have to work harder to love than others.

    Probably one of my favorite things about love is how it completely changes everything. It defuses heated arguments, it turns differences into ways to learn from one another, and it builds bridges where no amount of passion, logic, or sheer will ever could.

    Truth be told, love is uncomfortable and dangerous, as it can mess us all up and make us see the world through different eyes and with a bigger heart. Most churches thrive on safety, comfort, and an arrogant certainty that they are right about everything and that anyone who doesn't agree is naturally wrong. Love has a way of stripping off those blinders and letting us see the world through God's eyes, which is disturbing to so many churches.

  4. You can add in there, "How many Republicans know you love them."