Love and Hate
“Does he hate women, or just magic-users?” she asked quietly.
“I have no idea who he hates,” Haydren replied. “But I believe he loves the God of All.”
—By Ways Unseen, Chapter 11 – Scars
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:1-4
As a Christian, there is a delicate balance to be held, that is actually not necessarily that delicate. If we read further in our Ephesians passage, it says in verse 15: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” So care must be taken, true. But it does not say it is difficult.
The balance comes to this: to love our neighbor, but to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness” (vs. 11). Here’s what I have seen happen in the world today:
1. A topic is brought up.
2. Christians weigh in on the righteousness or sin of the topic.
3. If sin, Christians are told they are hateful.
a. Christians back down, and in the name of peace and acceptance no longer say that something is a sin.
b. Christians get belligerent, claim persecution, speak even louder and more angrily about the sin, and are not kind.
I want to offer a helpful tip in navigating these things. First, we must remember it is not our responsibility whether especially a non-believer is sinning or not: they must first come to Christ, as we did, before any supposed sin or not is either uprooted or not. Simply telling people what they’re doing wrong is unhelpful. Remember, Jesus—anytime he spoke about sin—was addressing the Israelites, who were already God’s chosen people, who already claimed to live under the Law of Moses. Unbelievers in America and anywhere else in the world do not claim to live under that law, or the law of grace brought by Jesus.
So, if you are asked whether you think something is a sin or not, you can respond along the lines of “I don’t believe Christians are to live that way.”
Does this mean no one will take offense? Of course they will; we are still suggesting there are certain ways to live or not, and some topics are so sensitive (thanks in some part to historical improper handling) that anything less than full-throated approval is seen by some as hate.
But when it is, it will be because of Christ, not because you’re an insensitive jerk. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18