Real love

Where Is the Love?

A favorite pastime between my best friend and I is to compare the culture we were brought up in with that of the one we are currently living in. We both come from fairly liberal societies in the north and, for the time being, are stuck in an ultra-conservative society in the south. We have both grown up learning to love everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they believe or what they look like. Neither of us were brought up by atheists, Satanists or any other “heathens” most people think our parents must have been. We were both taught that God’s Word is Truth and that the Father loves the entire world enough to send His only Son so that people could believe in Him. We both have left the church in pursuits of other things at one point or another in our lives, but we both still held these things we were taught throughout our wanderings off of the path. We were both very aware that when we arrived to our school in the south that people were going to be more conservative and we would meet a considerable amount of other Christians.

We never thought we would associate Christianity with unloving.

We’ve met hundreds of people claiming to be Christians. They are militantly pro-life, pro-death penalty, pro-war, anti-gay and very Republican. They only listen to music that says Jesus at least twice per song, and watch movies that have no violence, swearing, sex, and (most importantly) do not question the religion they have grown up with in even a small way. The vast majority of these people tell the world that they must be like them in order to be saved. This scares me. Not for myself, really. I’ve learned to block out a lot of things in the year that I have lived here. It scares me for the people here and those who are going to be told they’re going to hell for not believing the same way.

There’s nothing wrong with having any of those beliefs. While I don’t necessarily hold to all of them, I have no problem with others having different beliefs than I do. I do, however, have a problem with people saying that these beliefs are biblical and the same that Jesus would hold. I cannot see the justification for protesting in front of abortion clinics, yelling things like “slut,” “murderer,” and whatever else to women while claiming to be a Christian. I cannot see justification for claiming to be pro-life before birth but being anti-life by being pro-death penalty. I don’t understand how these people, who claim to be Christians can shun the homosexuals or prostitutes because they are “sinners in need of a savior,” as the prayer goes. I’m fed up with hearing that as Christians we should not be associating ourselves with these or any sinners, that we must have a great “fellowship” with other Christians who believe exactly the same way as we do, who don’t challenge us to think. That’s not what this whole Christianity thing is about.

Aren’t we supposed to love everyone, regardless of who they are? Loving those who don’t believe the same way I do makes me a non-Bible-Believing-Christian. Does being a Christian mean that I am not supposed to love everyone? If it does, I don’t want any part in this anymore.

There has to be a better way.

“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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” (Matthew 22:37-40, TNIV).

Love God. Love your neighbor. That is what this thing, this belief, this faith, this life is about. Why, then, do we find it so hard to love? Why do we have such a hard time with being around those who don’t believe like we do?

I think sometimes we get so caught up in our Christian culture, we create these false images of Jesus in our minds. We see Him dressed in khakis and polo, only being around those who praise Him most, never with the broken, the losers, and the ones that society rejects. We feel that while He is too holy to be with these people, we also feel that it is our obligation to try and save them ourselves. Jesus does not want us to stand on our soapboxes, claiming hell and damnation for everyone who doesn’t agree with us, telling them they must be saved. We have thousands of tracts we could give them to solve that problem for us. Jesus does not want us to ask them if they’ve ever told a lie, thought a lustful thought, or hated someone with the air of righteousness, as if we’ve never sinned, and then tell them that liars, adulterers and murderers go to hell and they are right along with them.

Think about it. Jesus would not tell us to do things like that. God would not tell us that we are too good for others.

As North American Christians, we need to repent of making God in our own image instead of being made in His image. We need to repent of making Jesus out to be one who condemns instead of saves (John 3:16-17). We need to repent of showing the world only what we are against instead of what we are for. We need to repent of letting a beautiful faith be turned into a synonym of hate.

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2 thoughts on “Real love

  1. Hello, I linked to this post from a friend’s blog and have some thoughts on this article. I disagree with the assessment of the Christianity in this post. First, when discussing issues that Christians the author has met in the South stand for, the merits of what they stand for must be considered and not how they stand for them. For instance, when discussing the pro-life/pro-choice issue, the discussion should be focused on which view is valid according to Christianity, not if calling a woman entering an abortion clinic a “slut” is appropriate conduct. Calling a woman a “slut” is not Christian conduct and most every “Southern Christian” the author has talked to would agree with the exception of the nuts the media portrays. However, being firmly pro-life is not a Southern Christian thing, it is a Biblical thing. Since this article quotes the Bible multiple times to make points, I will feel free to do the same and reference Psalm 139 and Genesis 1 to argue that human life begins in the womb and has value because it is created in God’s image. If the author would agree with that then the argument against pro-life southern Christians should be dropped. I do not think it is very loving to execute a baby. If the author disagrees that it is a life, they the author has no business quoting the Bible which would say that it is.

    I also do not think it is inconsistent to be pro-death penalty and be pro-life or for that matter pro-war as well. The reason for the death penalty is because human life is so valuable. I would argue that if someone walks up and shoots someone in the face for no reason is let go or allowed to live, the life of that innocent victim is devalued. Moreover, all other human life is devalued as well because a justice system that does not impose capital punishment does not discourage murder effectively and life is made more cheap because there is only a cheap price to pay for taking it.

    Regarding being pro-war, I’ll just go ahead and say that arguments against just war are retarded. I don’t even want to talk about how ignorant all “the Iraq war was for oil” and “Bush lied soldiers died” comments are. I am in Afghanistan currently and volunteered to be here, just like everyone else around me. If the author thinks that hunting down terrorists who kill innocent people is wrong, I would question the author’s love for anyone and their sanity. We are showing the greatest love by laying down our lives to protect innocent people of a country that is not our own. If the author thinks that Jesus is not about protecting the innocent, I would again question the author’s view of Jesus.

    It is making God into one’s own image if someone thinks that God does not stand for justice, for protecting the weak and the defenseless, and against evil men. The Bible that you quoted is full of God’s hatred against sin. The reason for John 3:16-17 is that evil exists. Because good and evil exists they will always be in conflict. It is naive and dangerous to think otherwise. God does not command us to love evil. If I kill a terrorist it is not because I hate him. I really don’t have any feeling for him at all. I know that what he is doing is evil and that he must be stopped. I do personally care for the children who I hand out candy to, the orphans that we employ, and the men we train who are fighting for their country and want to raise their families free of the threat of evil men firing rockets into their village. Since the author is not over here she cannot see the violence that those we are fighting are inflicting upon the innocent. She also cannot see that what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is not trying to conform them into the image of America. We are trying to let them live, have food, have clean water, and raise families in peace. If that is making them “American” so be it. I would argue that letting people rot under tyranny and oppression is not loving and that pro-war Christians are showing love by freeing people for those things.

    As a Bible-believing Christian I believe that homosexuality is wrong. I do not condone hatred or violence against homosexuals and lesbians and I definitely don’t think that they should be shunned. In fact an article in the paper a couple of months ago illustrated the repulsion that many Christians had at hell and damnation soapbox preacher on NC State’s campus who was being hateful. As Christians we are called to be light in the darkness, not to run and hide and also not to push away by sinning ourselves while condemning sin. Every “sinner” (all of us, me included) has been created in God’s image and should be treated appropriately and needs the gospel as much as anyone else. But saying that homosexuality is wrong and being opposed to the homosexual agenda and being pro traditional family is not hatred. That is Biblical. If the author is accusing southern Christians of intolerance for standing for those things, she is being intolerant of their view and is trying to impose her world view on others, and that is the very thing she is decrying Southern Christians for.

    Nobody is going to hell for not “believing the same way”. People are going to hell because they have sinned and because God is just and therefore must punish sin. The Bible reveals God’s answer to his justice and wrath against all mankind for their sin. The answer is Jesus. He came and bore the just punishment for all those who believe on him.

    It seems to be that Sarah is confusing 2 things: what the Bible teaches and how people who claim they believe the Bible behave. Doing the right things in the wrong way is not right. Being pro-life and opposed to homosexuality and also rude and demeaning is wrong. However being polite and kind while letting innocent life be taken or not caring about sin is just as wrong.

    -Eric

  2. Hey, I wrote that. Thanks for reposting it! I get really excited when I see people actually reading my stuff. haha.

    As for Eric’s comment.. There is so much I can say to that, but it’s just been one of those days that whatever I say, I will not be saying anything in love. With that, I choose to hold my tongue.

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