So often I find that I’m an oxymoron.
I believe in conviction. I believe in absolute truth. I believe in judgement and sin.
However, I also believe in patient endurance. I believe in Love. I believe in reconciliation. I believe in mercy, grace, and salvation.
We live in a culture where disagreeing is seen as hate. We have to approve of people’s choices in order to be seen as tolerant. People think that if you disapprove of their decisions than you disapprove of them. I felt this at times when my parents didn’t or don’t like a choice I was/am making. [Now that I mention it, I feel like I have to rebel against my parents’ advice and succeed to say, “I can do it differently than you!” or I feel like their advice is a criticism on who I am as a mother and their daughter. I’m realizing, in this statement, that their opinions on my choices do not measure their affection towards me as a person, a daughter they do love, even if I sometimes feel they don’t do the best job at showing it. Lord knows Willow will feel the same way probably. She’ll stand around a kitchen venting to her friends about me. Ah, the cycle.]
There is so much controversy regarding the H2B law in North Carolina.
First, I think it is wrong to allow children to carry pepper spray. I don’t let my child play with cleaning chemicals from under the sink for fear she’ll use it improperly. Now, I understand that I have a toddler and she is years from using a public restroom at school (if we aren’t able to home-school), but why would I arm my prepubescent teen with a dangerous weapon. Yes, pepper spray is a weapon. A knife and a gun are weapons too. Ii know I can train my child to use it properly, but I want years of supervising and instruction before I let my child handle weapons herself. (I’m not sure if this will be a point of contention between hubby and me. I know he’s all about education on these items like I am, but I don’t know how long he’ll allot before giving her free reign of using these items herself.)
I also don’t feel that my child will be any more threatened by allowing transgender individuals into “her” restroom. I’ve already done a lengthy post on this however, so I’ll spare you.
There is also the on-going battle of homosexual marriage. A law was recently passed to allow homosexual couples to marry. Cool, whatever. You want to have your relationship recognized legally so you get all the same benefits? Great. I’m fine with this.
However, just because I’m fine with a civil recognition of a homosexual marriage and I’m fine with transgenders using the bathroom of their choosing, does not mean I agree with their lifestyle choices. I think you can be pre-disposed towards preferences at birth. Yet, even though genetics can predispose you to certain behaviors, it does not mean we are to act on them. Murder is still wrong even though individuals can have genetics or life circumstances that incline them to be at a greater risk of murdering someone. Now I know that sexual attraction and gender identity are an entirely different sphere. I’ll probably get static for making a seemingly absurd comparison, but we are commanded to be self-controlled in Scripture. Self-control means that there are real desires and inclinations that my flesh wants to act on, but that I must yield to the Spirit.
I believe that sin really does exist. Sin is an uncomfortable topic in today’s society. If you dismiss it, you are licentious. If you admit it exists, you will likely be seen as judgmenta and intolerant.
Now, I understand that the church talks about abortion and homosexuality a lot. These are hot button issues that are polarizing our pews and dividing congregations. There is so much sin that isn’t being discussed in church, sin that is probably far more prevalent. We veil gossip as a prayer request often. Yes, there are things the church needs to work on. I belong to the church and so by extension, there are several things I need to work on.
Yet, you can believe something and still treat people nicely. One sad deception that is permeating culture today is that if you think a behavior is wrong, you don’t value the individual. If you voice a disagreement, you are told that you are a bigot, you don’t want people to be happy. (My sister told me I didn’t want her to be happy when I said I would rather she not marry a person in jail. *sigh, that’s a lot more drama and life than is meant for here*)
I disagree with people A LOT! My husband can vouch for that.
Love doesn’t mean I agree with you. Love doesn’t mean I am blind towards sin or mistakes.
Love is admitting that I don’t have it all together myself. Love is caring for my neighbor, even if they feel offended or insulted by my opinion. Love is treating other people with decency even when we disagree or argue. Love doesn’t mean I dismiss my convictions because they confront your personal decisions. Love means that I will have compassion for you. Love is being messy together. Love isn’t discarding what I see as years of church historical doctrine and truth. Love isn’t being silent about repentance. (I will agree that repentance should be discussed in regards to so many other sins that aren’t being addressed and need to be.)
Christ wasn’t quiet about people’s need to refrain from sin and pursue righteousness. However, there is a way to tactfully address sin, repentance, and judgement. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love does not mean I spare people from Hell by condemning them. I’m not to judge, God is. I don’t know the motives in people’s hearts. Love is me sharing the good news of the gospel, the whole gospel. I need to tell people about our rebellion against God and how our stains made it impossible to win his favor, but when we trust in Jesus as the atonement for our wrongdoings, we are reconciled to God. Out of gratitude, I refrain from selfish pursuits and choose to honor God, even if my flesh wars with his desires.
I can disagree with people. I am not permitted to think myself superior. Jesus was furious with the religious elite. I am not to be pious. If anything, I am to be like Paul and seeing myself as the worst of sinners. Yet, like Paul, I can raise controversial issues, state my opinion, and do so with love. I can disagree. Love and tolerance do not demand the abandonment of conviction, convictions I’ve gained through years of prayer and study. However, love and tolerance do demand that I treat people with respect. I am not to insult or harm them, at least not intentionally. (Some might think you are insulting and harming them because you are disagreeing…see earlier in this thread.)
This long rant can be summarized in that love isn’t merely a feeling of butterflies and gumdrops. Love is messy. Love disagrees. Love can argue. Love does, however, do the disagreeing tactfully, seeing the humanity in another individual. Love is being willing to stand alongside someone and hold their hand even when they are frustrating you.
I can vehemently oppose a position you hold but still admire you as an individual. I can disagree, but see a friend and someone worthy of respect.
Love is speaking truth enshroud with mercy and grace, because you deserve Christ’s mercy and grace too. He didn’t just die for me. He died for anyone who would put their trust in him.
My opinion could be wrong and I’ll get to see all my misconceptions one day. Until then, I’ll treat you as I would want to be treated; every human is entitled to the common decency of being heard, cared for, and helped.
Please let me love you earnestly and do me the kind act of loving me in this fashion.
Golly, I hope I am coherent and don’t ramble/repeat myself too much.
Sleep is prescribed…but I’m pretty sure I’ll be saying that until I die now. Here’s a revelation: Maybe we’d find more common ground and not bicker like toddlers if we all tried to find more time to sleep. Lots of arguments can be resolved more quickly/civilly with sleep and food. Regardless, treat people well because love calls us to do that much, even if you don’t agree on other issues.