When did loving someone mean you need to stop caring about their well-being? We seem to be living in a time where changing what something is or means is the norm (think marriage or “tolerance”). Until recently, there was no pressure to change the definition of marriage from one man and one woman, and tolerance was the act of putting up with or allowing something you do not agree with. Now marriage is being challenged to be conformed to whomever or whatever a person says they love, and tolerance is being pushed to mean accepting something you don’t agree with, with as much weight as what you do.
The apostle John writes in 1 John 3:18 “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Simply saying that you love someone or love people does not mean it is therefore true. It is by what we do and how speak to people that we can indicate the genuineness of our love for them.
A mother who loves her child does not let her child run free and do whatever they want whenever they want. A loving mother teaches her child, disciplines her child, and says “no” many times. It is not because a mother does not want what is best for her child that she says “no,” but rather it is precisely because she loves her child that often says “no” to his requests.
This is exactly what our culture is now deeming “unloving.” Christians are described as bigots, hateful, and unloving whenever they express what they believe to be true about a certain issue. And while believing something to be true does not mean it is true (the same goes for not believing something), if someone truly believes in Jesus and the Bible to be true then it is unloving not to express those beliefs when being asked or when those beliefs are being attacked.
When I was a little boy I threw horrible (and pathetic) temper tantrums. I would lie on the ground kicking and screaming because I wasn’t getting my way. However my parents never gave in to me and I thankfully grew out of that stage. If they had let me get what I wanted whenever I wanted it I would have done things that ultimately would not have been very wise. It was because they loved and wanted what was best for me that many times said “no.”
When a follower of Jesus stands for traditional marriage they do so because they believe that is how God not only designed marriage, but also the best structure for a family. Loving people means you care about them. Right or wrong, if you care about someone you will say something if they do something you think is wrong or can be damaging. Loving someone means that you care enough to have difficult conversations and to confront them if you feel something is not right.
In an age of changing definitions, don’t be confused. Loving someone means you care enough to speak up. That doesn’t mean what you are saying is right, but to think something is right (or wrong) and not say it at the appropriate times is unloving; it means you don’t care.
Yes there are a minority of self-professing “Christians” who say things like “God hate fags,” and that certainly is hateful and not true. It is not hateful however, to respectfully stand up for truth in “word or deed.” Paul writes in Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” We are commanded to love all people, and speaking the truth in love does not make you “hateful.” In verse 14 Paul writes, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
Disagreeing with someone does not mean you hate them as a person.
Don’t be hateful, speak up for truth and love people even when they disagree. Those who love me most speak up if they are worried about something, even if I don’t agree, it shows that they cared enough to say something.
Don’t be hateful. When you are willing to say what is unpopular because you care about people and want what is best for them is when you know you love them.
Following Jesus is about seeking his approval, not that of man’s. Don’t be afraid of what might be said about you. Love.