When asked about things like homosexuality, abortion, atheism, and the like, some Christians will go on about how those people are ruining America, or how God’s going to send fire down from heaven to judge those suckers soon, or how we need to pass laws to keep them out of, well, wherever it is we think they’re threatening us at the moment. But then if you ask those same Christians if God didn’t tell us to love everyone, they’ll say something which sounds more level-headed like, “Oh, I’m not saying I don’t love them. I love them. I just don’t agree with them.”
It’s like hearing a blue bird suddenly bark.
You see, when what we’re saying sounds hateful, belligerent, and angry, we don’t get to say that it’s the fault of those who are hearing it wrong. We don’t get to call anger love, just because we know that’s what it’s supposed to be.
Dressing your hate up in love’s clothes isn’t fooling anyone. It may make you feel better, but you’re the only one.
More likely, what people mean when they say that they love those they vehemently, spitefully disli, er… disagree with, is that they tolerate them. How do I know they don’t all love them? How can I make such a judgment of so many of these people?
Because love is obvious.
Because, “love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:4-7 NASB).
Love isn’t just putting up with someone. And while of course love doesn’t go so far as to rejoice in sin, God’s love is scandalous in its welcoming of those who would make themselves our enemies. It blesses them. It is kind and doesn’t act unbecoming. And it’s not provoked to angry rhetoric.
Another way I know this misguided malarkey isn’t love is because that was me. I was hateful and angry and could never reconcile my anger towards “the enemies of my faith” with God’s command to love. Until I saw that God loved me when I was still his enemy, which means I wasn’t God’s enemy even when I wanted to be. So, there are no enemies to my faith. There is no scale of better or worse people. There is only us, the needy, and the sin that stands between us and God, a fading whisper in light of His love, which He wishes to give to all.
There is only God, the Cosmic Lover.
Only Jesus, the all-welcoming Savior.
Who doesn’t just put up with us in hope that maybe one day we’ll become better people and stop doing such uncouth things. But died for us to give us His perfection once and for all. So that love could always be free.