I shared on FB and in my last post, Rachel Held Evans' blog: http://rachelheldevans.com/guest-post-david-nilsen, which made me think of some of the conversations I have had over controversial issues. The question about love--whether love condones or agrees with the other side, how do we love?--has come up on many occasions. In my last post, I stated how agape love is a love which chooses to love. So I thought I would continue with the type of love we are to choose. How do we love those who differ from us theologically, socially, or politically? As Christ has loved us is the simple, straightforward answer. If that is too abstract--you know--loving to death people who were his enemies, we can look at I Corinthians 13:
Love is patient and kind. Love bears, calmly endures even opposing views, pain, mistakes. Love responds not with labels which push people away, put others down, mock the opposing view but responds with kindness.
Love is not jealous, boastful or proud. Love does not abandon someone who agrees with us some points when they differ from us on a controversial issue. You know, the Christian who believes Jesus is Lord but does not support the literal 6 days of Creation or has a different view on homosexuality or is a *gasp* Democrat or a Republican. Love does not get jealous of the other camp and disown the Christian as a brother or sister in Christ. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love doesn't have to have all the answers and can discuss issues without acting like it is my way or you're completely wrong.
Love is not rude. Love does not call names or throw labels around. Love does not invite people to mock other people. Love does not mock others.
Love does not demand its own way. Love does not require the other person to be completely persuaded to my point of view. Love allows the other person to choose and remain in relationship.
Love is not irritable. Love is not offended when someone disagrees with me.
Love keeps no records when it has been wronged. Love doesn't let the wrongs someone has done define who they are, allowing them to still have a voice into other people's lives, into my own life.
Love is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. And so, even when a beloved pastor or church leader is leading a mega church and doing wonderful ministry, when he is unjust in his treatment of any other human being, love does not rejoice. The wrong someone does in no way negates the good. But the good does not negate the bad. Let us call each other to a higher standard of love.
Love never gives up. Love doesn't unfriend or leave a fellowship lightly.
Love never loses faith. I can love those who differ from me theologically, politically knowing that God's love wins. God will correct them or God will correct me, perhaps not in this conversation or life. But I have faith, God wins. God's promise is true--those who seek God will find God and be conformed to the image of Christ.
Love is always hopeful. Love expects the best out of others. Love doesn't assume because someone believes a certain way about a theological, political or social issue that they don't love God and don't believe Scripture. Love gives them the benefit of the doubt.
Love endures through all circumstances.
In this list, we do not find love agrees 100% all the time. In fact, the list has more to do with how we deal with each other in times of disagreement and hardship--being patient, kind, not being rude, not keeping record of wrong.
Let us choose to love--no matter what.